Archive for the ‘ Bible ’ Category

Taking It to the Streets

Take yourself to Proverbial Thought for some thoughts on wisdom!

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses …” (Hebrew 12:1, ESV)

The context of Hebrews chapter 12 is that the Preacher has just finished going through the “Hall of Faith” of all (from our Old Testament) who were considered righteous for their faith in God. This is the immediate meaning of “so great a cloud of witnesses” that surrounds us. This verse can also be taken as a call to a holy life to share the gospel.

At the Purphill Altar

Photo courtesy of Jackie Moore

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely …”

I have seen many street preachers in my life. Some were okay, some were downright mean, and a few have been great. This past weekend I helped bring two friends together in marriage in New Orleans, LA.

 

After the ceremony and reception there was an after party on Bourbon Street. Immediately outside our venue were some street preachers from a local church.

WP_20140607_028I liked them because of their difference. They did not merely condemn those partaking in Bourbon Street’s offerings. Instead, they called others to follow their example of following Christ by laying aside every weight and sin which can cause someone to stumble.

Were they perfect?

No, but at least they were trying to fulfill our calling to take the gospel to the ends of the earth (Matthew 28:18-20).

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 12:1-2, ESV

We are surrounded by many witnesses: those who have gone before and call us to continue, the angels who minister to us as we minister to others, and watchful world. We may stumble, and they may use it against us, but this is why we strive to lay aside every weight and sin which so easily causes us to stumble. Then we can run for the glory of God, bringing the lost to Him!

Where Jesus Spends His Time Today

Seek the wisdom of God, and find a taste at Proverbial Thought!

This past Sunday much of the Christian world celebrated the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Interesting note: this past Wednesday was probably the actual anniversary of the event.)

Last week I mentioned where Jesus spent the Passover when most Jews (except His followers and some others, I am sure!) were celebrating their freedom to worship God. Come Sunday morning, He proved He was God when He was raised from the dead!

Happily ever after, right?

Close.

There is still more to the story:

In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.

And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10 And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, 11 and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”
Acts 1:1-11, ESV

The message this week is simple: our Lord is in heaven. Our Risen Savior has given us a hope for eternal life, and He sits at the right hand of the Father. He is in control!

AND HE IS COMING BACK AGAIN!

Where Jesus Spent the Passover

Here is another friendly reminder that Proverbial Thought is back! Also do not forget the first book published by Parson’s Porch!

Today is the Jewish Passover. It is a time of celebration of the freedom from slavery and living in the Promised Land.

There have been several times in history when it was merely a celebration of freedom from slavery in Egypt, and that was all because the Hebrew people could not live in their land.

Sadly, it took the mass murder of about six million (6,000,000) of them in World War II for them to get their land back. They also have not had all of the land restored to them.

However, about 2000 years ago there was a similar story. The Jews lived in the land, but they were under the rule of Rome. They were allowed to worship as they wanted, but it was always under the supervision of Roman leaders.

This is the same time that Jesus was born, raised, and performed His ministry. When He was about 33 years old, He went to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover with His closest disciples.

The night before Passover officially began, He was betrayed by one of His friends, arrested by the Jewish leadership, interrogated and beaten, denied by another of His friends, and then at the time the sacrificial lambs were being sacrificed He was beaten some more and nailed to a cross to die.

Thus, He became the sacrificial Lamb who washed away our sin that separated us from God.

Just before nightfall, which is when the Passover would officially begin, this is what we read in Mark 15 (ESV):

42 And when evening had come, since it was the day of Preparation, that is, the day before the Sabbath, 43 Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the council, who was also himself looking for the kingdom of God, took courage and went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. 44 Pilate was surprised to hear that he should have already died. And summoning the centurion, he asked him whether he was already dead. 45 And when he learned from the centurion that he was dead, he granted the corpse to Joseph. 46 And Joseph bought a linen shroud, and taking him down, wrapped him in the linen shroud and laid him in a tomb that had been cut out of the rock. And he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb. 47 Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw where he was laid.

Therefore, the Savior of the world, Jesus of Nazareth, the Jewish Messiah (Christ), spent Passover lying dead in a tomb.

We may not always feel like celebrating. The disciples certainly did not that weekend about 2000 years ago.

Yet, when our faith and hope is found in Christ that the Father is in control, we can have peace through the Holy Spirit knowing something the disciples did not that bleak Sabbath day, found in the next chapter of Mark:

1 When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. And they were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back—it was very large. And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed. And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here.

Our God and Savior is ALIVE! HE IS RISEN!

We celebrate this week the resurrection of Jesus Christ. We have hope because He has overcome death and the grave!

The Writing on My Wall

Col3_12-17 framedAnother friendly reminder that Proverbial Thought is replaying and renewing commentary on the book of Proverbs! Also, the first book, Proverbial Thought, with chapters 1-10, was just published by Parson’s Porch!

In the first apartment I rented in Arizona with a friend I printed and framed a passage from Colossians and hung it on the wall. It followed me when I got married into four different apartments, and now it hangs on a wall in our house.

Perhaps you can see by the image that it is Colossians 3:12-17:

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

To quote so many other people …

‘Nuff said. (Amen.)

Weekend Words & Sunday Stanzas – 04/06/2014

Proverbial Thought does it again, as we re-run and occasionally modify or offer new thoughts!

Speaking of thoughts, today I do not offer a poem so much as my own proverbial thought.

When Jesus came to Earth, He turned the world upside down. He challenged every idea we have, every perception we think we understand, and every box we try to put God into.

And then He overcame … and gives us a Helper to overcome with Him!

 

 

 

The Holy Spirit is boxed in by the Word.

The cool thing about God is

His box was built inside out.

April …

The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”

For this April Fool’s Day, I offer no pranks or jokes, only this: Psalm 14 (and Proverbs 1:7) (ESV)

The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”
    They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds,
    there is none who does good.

The Lord looks down from heaven on the children of man,
    to see if there are any who understand,
    who seek after God.

They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt;
    there is none who does good,
    not even one.

Have they no knowledge, all the evildoers
    who eat up my people as they eat bread
    and do not call upon the Lord?

There they are in great terror,
    for God is with the generation of the righteous.
You would shame the plans of the poor,
    but the Lord is his refuge.

Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion!
    When the Lord restores the fortunes of his people,
    let Jacob rejoice, let Israel be glad.

And the answer:

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;
    fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Okay, so I offered one joke: because here one more passage with the ultimate answer! As found in 1 Corinthians 1:

18 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written,

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
    and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”

20 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. 22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.

The Excellent Wife!

We finished getting through the book of Proverbs at Proverbial Thought last month. Our church is almost done going through the book of Proverbs on Sunday mornings. I am preaching a sermon on the last chapter of Proverbs in my preaching class next month.

I thought it would be okay to give a relatively short post about that final passage of Proverbs (chapter 31, in the ESV)!

10 An excellent wife who can find?
She is far more precious than jewels.
11 The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good, and not harm,
all the days of her life.
13 She seeks wool and flax,
and works with willing hands.
14 She is like the ships of the merchant;
she brings her food from afar.
15 She rises while it is yet night
and provides food for her household
and portions for her maidens.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
17 She dresses herself with strength
and makes her arms strong.
18 She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.
Her lamp does not go out at night.
19 She puts her hands to the distaff,
and her hands hold the spindle.
20 She opens her hand to the poor
and reaches out her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of snow for her household,
for all her household are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes bed coverings for herself;
her clothing is fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the gates
when he sits among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them;
she delivers sashes to the merchant.
25 Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she laughs at the time to come.
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
27 She looks well to the ways of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children rise up and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women have done excellently,
but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands,
and let her works praise her in the gates.

The entire book of Proverbs was written to a son, specifically Solomon’s son.

When we read Kings and Chronicles we see that his children did not really listen, but that is not the point here.

In 31:1, we read “The words of King Lemuel. An oracle that his mother taught him”. Lemuel, in Hebrew, means “For God” or “Devoted to God”. We can read this as “The words of a King devoted to God.” That makes it reasonable to assume it might be Solomon still sharing wisdom, especially since we never see the name Lemuel listed in any of the ancient kings.

Therefore, the last 22 verses of Proverbs are about how a godly and wise man can find a good wife.

  • It takes diligence to find her, and she is worth more than all the wealth in the world. (vv. 10, 30-31)
  • Her family is blessed by her work, and she by them. (vv. 11-12, 28-29)
  • She is a diligent and hard worker. (vv. 13-19, 27)
  • She helps the poor, financially and in wisdom. (vv. 20, 26)
  • She does not fear the elements nor the future, because she has provided excellently for her family. (vv. 21, 25)
  • She takes care of her home and is in the marketplace. (vv. 22, 24)
  • Her husband is well-respected. (v. 23)

I think Ephesians 5 sums up what this means for the family. It is not really about the wife, at least not only. It is about the husband as well.

Both love and respect each other. They have trust in each other, and they express their love, respect, and trust through word and deed. Neither is lazy, nor do they allow anything to break their bond. They protect and nurture their relationship.

And this begins before they ever meet (or, at least, before they ever get married, for those who may live with arranged marriages), though it is never too late to begin fresh!

Ultimately, this is about Jesus Christ and His Church!

As Isaiah said in chapter 61 of his book, “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

And John shows us in Revelation 18-22 how the Church is the Bride of Christ. Listen for the similarities from Proverbs 31 in Revelation 19:

Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out,

“Hallelujah!
For the Lord our God
the Almighty reigns.
Let us rejoice and exult
and give him the glory,
for the marriage of the Lamb has come,
and his Bride has made herself ready;
it was granted her to clothe herself
with fine linen, bright and pure”—

for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.

And in chapter 22 we read:

The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.

It is the Church that perfectly exemplifies the excellent wife! It does not mean all who call themselves Christians are part of the Church, and it does not mean that we will never make mistakes. By the power of the Holy Spirit to the glory of God, He makes even our mistakes work for His gospel!

We have an amazing God who loves us desperately, and I pray we come to a point of desperation for Him that pushes us to live out His commands of love with a lost and broken world!

Let us prepare ourselves, as Christ’s beautiful Bride, for His return by loving others as we pursue God in the power of the Holy Spirit!