google-site-verification: google3e8cc4742c5fd8a2.html 2017 November

Archive for November 2017

Exploring Islam 08

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Exploring Islam

The Islamic nature of Sin

What is sin?

There is similarity between Islam and Christianity in the definition of sin; in Islam it is in not fully practising sharia Law or believing in Allah and his prophets; for the Christian it is thinking or acting in contrary to God’s wishes. (For more about the Christian doctrine of sin, click here to see other resources on this site.)

However, this is where the two religions part company. Within Islam every person is naturally sinless when they are born, they only become sinful when their first sinful act is committed. People are capable of following all the necessary laws and being sin free on their own, all that they require is the proper instruction and a healthy fear of the afterlife in hell to motivate them.

Despite this, even Muhammad is said in the Qur’an to have sinned (Qur’an 48:2). People are forgetful and can fall prey to the temptations which Satan can cunningly whisper to them. This is in contrast to the Christian who believes that we are all born into sin before we have thought or done anything. This is the concept of ‘original sin’ found in Psalm 51:5 and means that every person is in needing of saving.

Different levels of sin

Within Islam there are different levels of sin derived mainly from the Hadith and are too complicated for us to go into here. The main point of the categories is to identify those actions which the Muslim can receive forgiveness for by doing repentance.

But in contrast there are a very small number which are not forgivable most notably that called shirk. Committing shirk is when a Muslim changes a religion to become a Christian, and thereby in Islamic understanding believes in more than one God as seen in the Trinity.

Although there are Qur’anic verses which suggest Allah would entertain forgiveness if they rescinded and returned to Islam, there are equally others which suggest it is only a one way road to condemnation. The concept of shirk is a major barrier in any Muslim’s mind in even entertaining conversation about other religions, let alone really committing to change. When a true conversion does happen it is common even in western countries not to go public for fear of reprisals.

Sin’s influence upon Allah and God

A final aspect of sin to mention is the effect it has upon Allah and God. In Islam Allah’s transcendence and unknowability is so complete that he is subsequently not impacted at all by humanity’s sinful acts. He is a god who has desires for humanity to live in an appropriate way, but there is no personal relationship or want for fellowship. Allah is most holy, that is pure and just and set apart. His will is his own unaffected by anyone or anything.

This is in great contrast to the Christian God whose nature is equally holy and transcendent, but He has an innate desire to individually meet and express his love for his creation. However, this is hampered by the presence of sin which would, unlike with Allah, be in conflict with God’s pure holiness. Therefore, for a Christian forgiveness is required to forge the loving relationship with God, whilst for the Muslim it is to avoid going to hell.

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Jehovah Witnesses 03

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3 - Organization and God’s Word

 

 

 

At the end of our last study we looked at their own assessment of what a Godly organisation should be like in character and were they true in saying they adhere closely to God's Word. I couldn't agree more that they should but do they in fact keep strictly to God's Word? This we shall look at more closely in a moment but first

Here is an outline of how they operate as an organisation:

They stress:
(a) Door to door visitation They say that they are the only organisation going from house to house. This is not true as many churches do a great deal of outreach and meet people where they are. We recognise them at our front door as they give themselves away by their dress and manner.
Never do they start with the line "we are Jehovah Witnesses."
Why do they go from house to house? To present the good news of the gospel? Wow!! if it were true. Or is it out of fear of displeasing their organisation if they fail to do so?

What Good News do they bring to the householder? Its all about their own organisation and offering a Book study group to join. Note a book study not a Bible study. Again we do not see them going directly to the Bible and certainly not the NIV or New King James Versions not even the King James Authorised Version but their very own version which they have manufactured HAVING REMOVED OR ADDED TO PARTS OF THE BIBLE THEY ARE IN DISAGREEMENT WITH.

They say categorically "No one is allowed to criticise the hierarchy of the movement. " I quote " We should meekly go along with the Lord's theocratic organisation"(The Watchtower November 15th 1981 page 80.)..."What is your attitude towards directives from the faithful and discreet slave? Loyalty should move you to be ready to obey." (Watchtower Dec. 1st 1981)

One ex Jehovah Witness referring to her previous experience in the movement said...."I hated every minute, every hour of being a witness. But I thought it was the only way to survive Armageddon and live on Paradise earth. Many times over the years I would have left if someone had only presented the gospel to me." I have heard a good number of similar testimonies from those who feared the movement which had such a strong hold over them. This tight reign prevents them leaving the organisation especially if their close friends are going to ostracise them which the organisation insist they do..

(b) What kind of meetings do they hold each week? Usually it amounts to five meetings per week. Four of them require audience participation. Included also is a study of their weekly journal 'The Watchtower' by means of questions and answers. Prior to the study a public talk is given from its outline. On another evening the ministry school trains every Jehovah Witness how to present their beliefs and overcome objections. Witnesses are expected to prove their faithfulness by attending all the meetings. Each witness must spend a minimum of ten hours per month in door to door visitation. Others known as auxiliary and special pioneers spend many more hours knocking on doors.

Last year I attended by invitation their annual communion service. Yes only once a year. We were told the elements were only to be taken by those who were 'born again' Who are the born again in their eyes? Did the speaker point us to Nicodemus in John 3:3; no way, not a mention of it! .Instead we were pointed to a couple of references in the book of Revelation including one in chapter 14.

Here there is reference to great multitudes of people worshipping and praising God in Heaven. Included in that number, ( for it goes on to stress there are so many people there they cannot be numbered from all nations on the earth) is the number 144000. We were told by the presiding elder that the 144000 were the particular born again Jehovah Witnesses who were pure, undefiled, ransomed, redeemed and follow the Lamb closely.

So there were two classes we were told. One to inherit paradise and all other Jehovah Witnesses would have the lesser blessing in eternity of spending it on the renewed earth. So only Jehovah Witnesses who considered themselves in the 144000 group would be allowed to participate and take the bread and wine that night. I had been invited by an Witness elder who was sitting next to me . As the dry crackers and wine were being passed from hand to hand I quickly asked the elder whether I was expected to eat it straight away or wait till all were served. He replied "no its only for the "Born Again" I replied quickly as the elements drew closer to where we were sitting "But I am born again"

As it happened I never got much of a chance to take either as they were passed swiftly along and it appeared that no one was participating! Afterwards I asked my friend "Did he know of any "born again Jehovah Witnesses" in the congregation (there were 200 people there) He said "no not personally but I think there are one or two living in the county." I think the Holy Spirit was grieved that night at a meeting which should have been filled with the knowledge of Jesus Christ and His redeeming work on Calvary and his words to his disciples "take eat, do this in remembrance of Me"

However, He was virtually cut out of the meeting which he brought into being. I was told it was left to the individual to take but with such a warning, who would? To be born again was for the elite Jehovah Witness. My Bible tells me it is for sinners, repentant sinners who trust only in Jesus righteousness and His shed blood to redeem an deliver us from our sins. And through that sacrifice we can be cleansed from all sin and be welcomed into heaven (all of us who repent and believe)1 Corinthians 11:23-26: Romans 3:23; 5:1-3: and verses 8ff

When I began this third study I referred to the Jehovah Witness principles which they said they said they adhered to. One was "We recognise Jesus' vital role in Jehovah's purpose." I am certain they do not. Jesus Christ is central in the Christian faith and in my next study we shall focus on what place Jehovah Witnesses teaching does give to Jesus Christ and contrast it with what the Bible clearly teaches and I can assure you there is a vast difference and one that greatly affects the true way to God through The Lord Jesus Christ, We shall see Who He truly is and what He did achieve at Calvary for all who will believe on Him.

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POD - Psalm 8

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Psalm 8

 

For the director of music. According to gittith.[b] A psalm of David.

1 Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory
in the heavens.
2 Through the praise of children and infants
you have established a stronghold against your enemies,
to silence the foe and the avenger.
3 When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
4 what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
human beings that you care for them?
5 You have made them a little lower than the angels
and crowned them with glory and honour.

6 You made them rulers over the works of your hands;
you put everything under their feet:
7 all flocks and herds,
and the animals of the wild,
8 the birds in the sky,
and the fish in the sea,
all that swim the paths of the seas.
9 Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!

 

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Think Spot - 27 November 2017

 

Here we are Monday again. Are you pleased? Are you ready for a new day at the office, or at college or in the factory or at a desk? You are a Christian right? So what are you thinking as you resume where you left off last week?

Did you pray before you left home? Great for that's the best way to start off. You spent a little time with the Lord in His Word and have sought his leading through the day. That is also commendable. Have you sought protection from the Lord also? Have you realised there is someone who is anxious that you don't triumph in Christ today. That of course is satan. He is someone who wants to safeguard his territory and his prisoners – those who are already under his control.

So look at this day as an exciting day with all kinds of great prospects. If you are walking and talking with God you couldn't be in better company or stronger. He will be your shield and refuge a very present help in time of trouble. He is at your right hand and will be in control as you yield yourself confidently to His direction through the day. Ok a lot of routine stuff but do it as well as you can and cheerfully. But you don't know my boss?

No but God does and he has you there in that place for a reason never doubt. You may not see anything terrific happen today no miracles but you are a light shining for Jesus and will make an impact upon someones day today as you come into contact just your presence in the same room. Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify God in Heaven.

Trust in the Lord and be not afraid. Watch your behaviour and enjoy God's presence with you. You are in the centre of his will and its going to be a great Monday. Our confidence is in the Lord.

Psalm 23 reads “He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake” Believe and act upon those words spoken by David and at the end of day you may well be able to also say with him “My cup runs over”

 

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Exploring The Bible

41. Old Testament

Ezekiel - 590-573BC

 

G'day and welcome to our series, "Exploring the Bible" This is also the title of our latest book available on Amazon by clicking here or visiting PulpTheology.com

Key Verses:

  • Ezekiel 36:24–26
  • Ezekiel 36:33-35


Ezekiel preached to the people of Judah in exile in Babylon. Ezekiel uses prophecy, parables, signs and symbols to show God’s message to His exiled people.

He prophesies that God will reassemble them and make them live again, which amounts to a prophecy of resurrection. The judgement of the days in which they live will lead to a future glory, when Israel will know that God is God.

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Gems in the book of Revelation

Part 123 - Revelation 1:5

Who Jesus was and is

Unlike the other writers of New Testament epistles John does not have to direct the bulk of his writing to the problems in a church - with the exceptions of the seven letters to individual churches in his chapters 2 and 3. So he concentrates on Jesus tackling many things the other writers do not.

Here he is interested in describing the Messiah with 3 strong and powerful descriptive phrases: faithful witness, first born from the dead and ruler of the kings of the earth. Thus we have a great gem cut with 3 faces.

He is the faithful witness. ‘Witness’ translates a Greek word from which we get the English word ‘martyr’. The only other person who died for his faith named in this book is Antipas (2:13) and he also is called a ‘faithful witness’. He is uniquely identified with Jesus, having given the ultimate witness to the most important event of all that Jesus did here on earth.

What an accolade! There is nowhere in scripture the faintest suggestion that we should seek martyrdom. Yet if it becomes a strong possibility or a certainty for us we are not to do anything other than to welcome it. That is a tough statement to make. Our attitude towards it will depend very much on where we live and the implications of the culture and society we are in. some of us, living in a safe and secure environment, will never really have come to terms with the possibility - and why should we? Others, living in an unsafe environment will have been forced to confront the possibility and probably be shocked that there are those of us who never have! We can only live where we live and it is not sensible to try and do otherwise than face to problems of our place. If we are safe as can be, let us rejoice. If we live in a very unsafe part of the world and are unable to get out or have deliberately decided that we should not do so because of the work we are able to do for the kingdom and its Lord then let us live on, trusting in him, whatever the future may hold for us.

The second title John gives to Jesus is ‘firstborn from the dead’. This is a statement of both time precedence and status seniority. Isaac bought the birthright from his elder brother Esau and then tricked him out of their father’s blessing. Thus he secured a larger share of the estate when Isaac, their father, died. We do not know quite how it worked in those very early days. It was formalized later so that the senior son took a double share of the estate on the death of the father (Deuteronomy 21:15-17). Jesus has the time precedence. The Jews thought, on the basis of Ezekiel 37:11-14 and Daniel 12:1-2 that all the Lord’s people would eventually be resurrected. What they did not expect was that one person would be resurrected ahead of everyone else, thus demonstrating that it would happen when the end of the age came.

Jesus was the first born from the dead. We shall eventually be resurrected as he was at some unknown date in the future. WOW! The third title John gives to Jesus is ‘ruler of the kings of the earth’ which clearly means he will one day rule all this earth of ours and all who live on it. This is very much in line with the things that the other New Testament writers say. For instance Paul says, “that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:10-11).

John has taken the idea from Psalm 89:27 “I will appoint him to be my firstborn, the most exalted of the kings of the earth.” Such things seem to be strange things to say when only a tiny minority of the current kings, emperors and presidents of the nations of the earth would allow Jesus any place in their decisions. But this is no surprise. Ethan the Ezrahite, who wrote the psalm, complains that not all is going well for the king of David’s line that he is prophesying about. He says “You have exalted the right hand of his foes; you have made all his enemies rejoice. Indeed, you have turned back the edge of his sword and have not supported him in battle. You have put an end to his splendour and cast his throne to the ground. You have cut short the days of his youth; you have covered him with a mantle of shame. How long, LORD? Will you hide yourself forever? How long will your wrath burn like fire?” (Psalm 89:42-46).

We must remember 2 things: first that the sort of rule that Jesus founded and rejoiced in was never a rule of power and might and domination but one of modesty, humility and love. That sort of power is slowly making its way across the world even in these days. Second that one day this world will come to an end. When it does Jesus will come to the fore and then he will be the king of all the world. Oh, for that day!

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Exploring Islam 07

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Exploring Islam

7. Variety In Islam

Today we are going to look at the variety found within Islam. We can at times be tempted to think that all Muslims are alike, but as we shall see there is great diversity in the categories of Sunni, Shi’a, Sufi and Folk Islam.

Sunni and Shi’a

After Muhammad had died and the difficult process started for the people to decide a new leader the seeds of division formed which would remain in the form of Sunni and Shi’a groups. Some believers, the majority at that time, believed that a new leader could and should be chosen from the close companions of the prophet by the majority consent of the Muslim community.

As a result the Islamic empire remained superficially unified through four successive caliphs, or leaders, before this underlying disagreement took a more direct and violent turn. Through many battles the minority group who always contested that Muhammad’s successor must be from the prophet’s own blood line took arms against the majority. They never succeeded in overthrowing the empire, but instead strove forward as a distinct group who broke away from the rest.

Within Shi’ism the first genuine successor was Al-Husain the grandson of the prophet and who was brutally killed on the battle field against the Sunni in one of the final confrontations. This is commemorated each year and if you type ‘Shi’a’ into most search engines the images at the top will be of bloody processions of remembrance in Iran.

With the dismissal of the previous caliphs came the equal rejection of many Islamic traditions, Hadiths and parts of Sharia law which were instigated by them. Instead of successors being chosen by the people, Shi’ism believed that the rightful successor who had Muhammad’s blood in them also shared some mystical connection with the prophet, and hence it is only them who had the authority to lead and make choices.

In a way these subsequent leaders of the minority Islamic sect had moved on from a political successor, which is all that Sunni had, into a combined spiritual and political figurehead. Shi’a Muslims remain a minority in the world today and are found mostly in Iran, but also elsewhere. The two groups seemed to have accepted themselves, but equally on the ground there can be much animosity.

Because of the different theological foundations in Shi’ism, some of their practices are different to Sunni. Instead of praying five times a day they only do it three times. When they pray they include a stone, clay, or wooden tablet which they bow and place their head on, this is sourced from one of their different Hadiths. Because of these differences it is common for Shi’a believers to attend separate Mosques.

Sufism

Sufism is not a separate sect of Islam like Sunni or Shi’a, but instead followers can reside in either camp. The difference between them and non-Sufi lie in their awareness and specific beliefs around the nature of Allah and humanity’s ability to commune with him. For non-Sufi orthodox believers Allah is so vastly different and superior to humanity there can never be any kind of relationship or meeting between the two.

Even when in Paradise after death you are not with Allah who continues to reside elsewhere. Allah would not desire it to be otherwise, for example the Qur’an describes his disgust at the concept of him becoming a man as the Christians claim of Jesus. But for Sufis they yearned for a more otherworldly experience of Allah.

 This is achieved through specific methods of prayer and meditation under the guidance of a Sufi master or teacher. They tend to emphasise the love of Allah over any other characteristic, and believe that through these activities it is possible, even if very difficult, to draw closer on a spiritual level and experience union with Allah.

This might all sound rather strange and unusual, but it is not a far cry from Eastern Orthodox Christianity’s practices and beliefs, and indeed when I pray as a Western Protestant I desire to draw close to God in some tangible way.

Folk Islam

Similar to Sufism, Folk Islam can exist within either Sunni or Shi’a groups, but primarily it is found in the former. It can equally be referred to as Popular Islam and is the combination of orthodox beliefs and practices with additional non-Islamic concepts. This is not unusual and all world religions have faced the threat of outside influences sometimes conceding ground.

One of the major concerns for people is that of sickness, death and what is to come afterwards. In times where normal medical treatment fails and orthodox Islamic belief would only provide the comfort of Allah’s predetermined and unknown will, a desire to have some influence in the situation led to the acceptance of some pre-existing religious beliefs.

For the most part these additions can be centred on the role of a shaman or wise man who is gifted with the ability to communicate with the spirits of the dead. Through this intercession and in combination with certain practices a person may be able to positively impact their difficult situation. In conjunction with this are the two opposing concepts of positive blessing versus the evil eye.

Some people, objects, locations or things are more blessed and lucky than others. Fridays are always like this and so many important business meetings or personal choices are purposefully delayed if possible to this day of the week. The evil eye on the other hand is seen as a strong negative force or spirit which resides within each person from birth. Its role is to undermine the faith and religious commitment of the believer. This is commonly seen through the act of envy and it is common in parts of Africa for newborn babies to remain within the house for as long as possible so no one is able to invoke the evil eye onto them.

What we have covered here is only a taster into the different expressions of Islam around the world today. But I hope that it has helped to expand our appreciation that what aspects we normally see in the media does not properly represent the overall diverse picture.

 

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Jehovah Witnesses 02

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Part 2 - Beliefs and teachings

Already we have seen how the movement began and also we have noted sadly how the founder Charles Russell moved away from the Orthodox Christian Faith which he learned from His father and mother who were Congregationalists.
When confronted concerning one particular doctrine, eternal punishent,  he found himself floundering in his own beliefs and succumbed to unbelief and began to form a new set of teachings after his own likings.
Later we found similarly the Movement did not like using the King James Authorised Bible as it differed from their thinking in certain areas of doctrine so they composed their own Bible: "The New World Translation". They did this supposing they had more knowledge of the original Greek and Hebrew than those fully trained who had brought the King James Authorised into being. So when you begin in this way is it surprising when they go even further astray as we shall see in today's study.
Recently I put a question to four Witnesses to give you an idea of their thinking. I asked "If you were visiting a home where someone was very unwell in fact dying and only had a short time to live what would be the most important Bible Truth to share with them?
One said "Well I would turn them to Isaiah where we read that Jehovah is the name of God." "Interesting" I replied. The second man who was also an elder (teacher) within the ranks of Jehovah Witnesses had little to say. The new trainees with them both said "Its a good question , what is the one you would share with them?"
Now remember this person is shortly leaving this world and he needs to be prepared for eternity. I went to the story of the conversion of the Philippian Jailer and when he asked Saul and Silas "What must I do to be saved ?" received a straight answer" Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved" (Acts 16:31;) The result? That same night not only the jailer but his whole family were saved and baptised having taken the short step in faith and obeyed the Scriptures way of salvation.
I am convinced the only faith the witnesses had that I spoke to were trusting in the fact they belonged to an organisation who alone profess to hold the truth and being equipped to understand and teach the Bible. However if you ask them if they have an assurance of hope in eternal l life they will reveal they do not have it.

What do Jehovah Witnesses believe?

1. First they tell us they are the only organisation that are directed by God's Spirit
To them alone they say God reveals His sacred truth. They are equipped with apparent gifted evangelists, shepherds and teachers. I quote..."There is no other organisation that is doing the divine will of God or is educating people for life everlasting." (from the Watchtower..1st July 1973 pp 402, 404 , 406) How gifted were they to help a man who was dying to show him the way to heaven? Why didn't John 14:6; come to mind easily? It is so clear isn't it? Jesus said "I am the way the truth and the life no man comes to the Father but by Me"
2. Secondly they tell us the Bible is of no private interpretation . "The Bible is an organisation book. It belongs to the organisation not to individuals regardless how sincere they believe they cannot interpret the Bible without the aid of Watchtower notes." (W.T. 1st October 1967, page 587)
So whatever we say to them about what the Bible says, because it is someone telling them outside of their own organisation they will not receive it but close their ears even if we quote directly from the Bible they are conditioned not to take it in.
3. Thirdly you must join the organisation in order to receive salvation. "Any person who wants to survive into God's righteous new order urgently needs to come into the right relationship with Jehovah and his earthly organisation now." (W.T. 15th November 1981 pp16-17)
So what they are saying is whatever church you belong to , whatever faith you say you have in God's Word and its teachings and promises, whatever experience you have of The Holy Spirit working in your lifer it is of no good to you unless you join the Jehovah Witness organisation.
4. Finally in ending this lesson just listen to what they say about their organisation and to the marks of an organisation which they say is true to God. They are saying " we fulfil all these requirements." Here are their seven principles Think carefully as you read or listen and see if you can believe they do keep to those principles.

  • (a) Exalt Jehovah as the True God
  • (b) Recognise Jesus vital role in Jehovah's purposes.
  • (c) Adhere closely to God's Word.
  • (d) Keep separate from the world
  • (e) Maintain a high level of moral cleanliness.
  • (f) Preach the Good News.
  • (g) Cultivate the fruits of The Spirit (Life)

5. Anyone who rejects their organisation having once begun in it is in fact shunning God. Such people will be shunned by all other Jehovah witnesses and will not receive the reward of eternal life (W.T. September 15th 1981 pp25,29). Next time we shall see "Why no one is allowed to question Watchtower policy. " and what The Bible has to say about that!!

  • Do they really exalt Jehovah as The One True God?
  • Do they really recognise Jesus vital crucial role in the purpose of Jehovah to save his people from their sins?
  • Do they really adhere closely to God's Word or only the words they have included to justify their own teachings. Doesn't the Bible warn people about tampering with His Word and either adding or subtracting from it?
  • Do they preach the Good News as found in Romans 1:16; where Paul the Apostle writes "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ for it is God's power working unto salvation (for deliverance from eternal death) to everyone who believes with a personal trust and a confident surrender and firm reliance, to the Jew first and also to the Greek." Amplified Version)

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POD - Psalm 93

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Psalm 93

 

93:1 Yahweh reigns! He is clothed with majesty!

Yahweh is armed with strength.

The world also is established. It can’t be moved.

93:2 Your throne is established from long ago.

You are from everlasting.

93:3 The floods have lifted up,

Yahweh, the floods have lifted up their voice.

The floods lift up their waves.

93:4 Above the voices of many waters,

the mighty breakers of the sea,

Yahweh on high is mighty.

93:5 Your statutes stand firm.

Holiness adorns your house, Yahweh, forevermore.

 

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Think Spot 20th November 2017

As part of our living as followers of Jesus, here is something which has the capability of affecting every person on the planet.

Jesus, our Master, said in Matthew 12:36-37 But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgement for every empty word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”

Jesus took words and thoughts extremely seriously. Jesus’ words encouraged others gently towards paths of right living. He spoke words of love, kindness, rebuke, forgiveness, encouragement and blessing upon and to others. Jesus is to be our guide and Master in the use of thoughts and words.

In Matthew 5:21-22, Jesus equates calling somebody a fool with the physical act of murder. Murder has its beginning in anger developing into uncontrollable rage. Improper attitudes, words and thoughts can lead you and I to sin if we don’t stop their destructive use quickly. May the words we communicate and think about, be like those of Jesus – “full of grace”. How is your WOW factor of Jesus now?

When Jesus Christ called you to follow Him, He called you to follow Him wholeheartedly and be committed to only Him. Jesus calls you and I, to love God and be totally committed to Him.

Here is a brief prayer to help us into the new week.

Father, help us this week to be totally committed to you in all aspects of our lives. May those we live with, work with and interact with, know we are your child by the words we speak. We ask this, through the mighty name of your Son, Jesus and in the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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Exploring The Bible

40. Old Testament

Daniel - 605-536BC

 

G'day and welcome to our series, "Exploring the Bible" This is also the title of our latest book available on Amazon by clicking here or visiting PulpTheology.com

Key Verses:

  • Daniel 7:9-14
  • Daniel 12:1-3

 

Daniel preached in Babylon 605 - 536 BC bridging the entire 70-year exile in Babylonian captivity. He spoke for God to the Gentile and Jewish worlds to declare God’s present and eternal purpose.

Daniel used dreams and visions to show God’s guidance, intervention, and power in the affairs of men. His great vision of the Ancient of Days and the Son of Man is much referred to in the New Testament.

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Gems in the book of Revelation

Part 122 - Revelation 1:1–3

Jesus - when will it all happen?


We have an immediate problem with the question - when is it all going to happen? John starts straight off with “what must soon take place” and “the time is near”. The full quote is “The revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, 2 who testifies to everything he saw—that is, the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. 3 Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near”.

But here we are nearly 2000 years later and it still has not happened. If IT is the end of the age as we shall soon see that in John’s thinking it is, it has not happened. And, as you may well know, the idea that the return of Jesus to this world as a conquering king is a common idea throughout the New Testament writings and almost always expected ‘soon’.

On the other hand you will probably also be all too well aware that there are many people prepared to make forecasts of when it will all end. In the 1980s I heard a preacher who confidently predicted that Jesus would return within the next 12 months. Then I heard that our church had booked him to come and speak next year!!! That was all too much of an amusing story but the difficult part was that there was a lad in our church about to go to university who was asking what the point was if Jesus was coming so soon. That is the danger of such things said by irresponsible preachers who have never come to terms with Jesus saying “about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” Mark 13: 32.

Let me share my own vision of how this can be: as we progress through life we are moving along a long and comparatively narrow tunnel which is this world. Outside it, almost visible through the thin walls of the tunnel is the kingdom of God. In the far distance, showing as only a small blob of light is the end of the tunnel, which is the end of the world in which we are in. but the walls of the tunnel are so thin it is obvious that we could break out, or the kingdom could break in at any moment. Indeed one day we shall break out as we die and go to be with the Lord. Because of the thinness of the tunnel walls it is entirely reasonable to use words like ‘soon’ and ‘near’ for that moment of breakout. We think, but we do not know, that the end is the point of light so far away at the end of the tunnel

I hope that picture will help you.

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