Sunday, March 31, 2013

Lord of Life

Though we rose to this tearful sunrise
With sadness for the dawn,
Now we find the grave-stone rolled aside,
Declaring Christ has gone.
Here we stand, trembling as an angel speaks,
We can't believe our eyes.
What a marvel, oh, what a mystery:
It's heaven's great surprise.
Hear the tomb as it echoes its refrain,
Which shouts of Jesus' pow'r;
Hear it ring with a triumph that proclaims
Salvation's finest hour.
Glory to the Great Redeemer,
Glory to the Risen Christ!
Our God reigns forever;
He is the Lord of life!
So all saints, let your loudest anthems ring;
We stand with hearts amazed.
Let us join as the heav'nly angels sing,
"He's worthy of all praise!"
Glory to the Great Redeemer,
Glory to the Risen Christ!
Our God reigns forever,
He is the Lord of life!
Hallelujah for this, our victory,
The end of sin's dark night.
As He lives once again then so shall we;
He is the Lord of life!
He is the Lord of life!

words and music by Tony Wood and Phillip Keveren

Friday, March 29, 2013

There is only one God

This is interesting. Found in Sir Robert Anderson's book The Coming Prince, is the calculation of the prophecy found in Daniel 9:25 where it says that the going out of the commandment to restore Jerusalem "to the coming of an anointed one [Messiah]" would be 69 weeks of years (cf. Gen. 29:27; Lev. 25:8). I thought we had always known the calculation of this very specific prophecy, but apparently it baffled to us for many years. Here's why: The predicted time of 483 years (69×7) did not match up with the time of the Lord Jesus Christ.
It was Sir Robert Anderson (1841-1918) who realized that the problem was in the different ways Jews and Gentiles mark time. We number our years using a solar calendar in which each year has 365¼ days, but the Jews used a 360-day lunar calendar, with each year consisting of 12 months of 30 days each.
Evidence of this is found in Genesis 7:11, where we read that the flood began "in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month," yet exactly "150 days" later (Gen 7:24) "in the seventh month, of the seventeenth day of the month, the ark came to rest" (Gen 8:3-4). The only way an exact period of five equal months can end 150 days later on the same day of the month is if each of those months has 30 days.

Further evidence is seen when we remember that the last half of Daniel’s seventieth week is sometimes said to last "forty-two months" (Rev 11:2), and sometimes it is said to last "for 1,260 days" (Rev 11:3). The only way 42 equal months can work out to 1,260 days is if each of those months has 30 days.
Once Sir Robert recalculated the prophecy using lunar years, he found that the 69 weeks "to the coming of an anointed one" worked out to the very day! the Lord Jesus rode the colt into Jerusalem and made an official presentation of Himself to Israel. No wonder the Lord wept later that day and said, "Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace!" (Lk 19:42, cf. Zech 9:9).

We celebrated this day last Sunday on what we now refer to as "Palm Sunday" (Lk 19:28-42; Jn 12:12-15).  Today we are celebrating "Good Friday" — the anniversary of the day our Lord was crucified.  On Sunday we celebrate His resurrection from the grave.  He is alive!

The point of this whole post? When you are asked why people should trust the God of the Bible, why not give the reason God Himself gives — fulfilled prophecy! (Isa 42:8-9; 44:7-8, cf. Jn 13:19). To those who proclaim that all the religions and/or gods of this world are the same, God says, "Set forth your case…bring your proofs…let them bring them, and tell us what is to happen…tell us what is to come hereafter, that we may know that you are gods" (Isa 41:21-24).
The God of the Bible alone is God!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
look full in His wonderful face,
and the things of earth will grow strangely dim
in the light of His glory and grace.
O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s a light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free!
Through death into life everlasting
He passed, and we follow Him there;
Over us sin no more hath dominion—
For more than conquerors we are!
His Word shall not fail you—He promised;
Believe Him, and all will be well:
Then go to a world that is dying,
His perfect salvation to tell!
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
look full in His wonderful face,
and the things of earth will grow strangely dim
in the light of His glory and grace.


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Making sense of the Book of Acts - introduction

"I doubt whether the peculiar importance of this Book of the Acts of the Apostles has ever been exhibited or felt as fully as it might have been...A careful consideration leads us to think of the Acts of the Apostles as the key-stone of the arch of the New Testament..." (Howson)

"Our present generation of Bible students would do well to heed these words [of Howson above] and engage in a serious and prayerful re-study of the Book of Acts, for a correct interpretation of the Acts of the Apostles is essential to a clear understanding of God's eternal purpose and of His message and program for the present dispensation, and it is certainly a pre-requisite to an appreciation of the exalted truths of the Pauline epistles." (Stam)

"Nearly all writers on Acts have assumed, without the slightest foundation, that it is the record of the birth and growth of the Church...that in Acts we find the doctrine and practice of the Church in its earliest and purest form; that it is a spiritual story book containing inspiring examples of what we might do if we but possessed the faith of the first century believers...Nevertheless, in the light of the written Word of God this view of Acts is erroneous — not merely in certain details, but fundamentally and essentially so — and accounts largely for the confusion that has gripped the Church in our day." (Stam)

"In a word, if 'To the Jew first' is characteristic of the Acts of the Apostles as a whole, 'To the Jew only' is plainly stamped upon every part of these early chapters, described by theologians as the 'Hebraic section' of the book. The fact is clear as light. And if any are prepared to account for it by Jewish prejudice and ignorance, they may at once throw down this volume, for it is here assumed that the apostles of the Lord, speaking and acting in the memorable days of Pentecostal power, were Divinely guided in their work and testimony." (Anderson)

"Perhaps the best way to see at a glance the value and significance of this book of the New Testament, would be to image the New Testament without the Acts of the Apostles. What a gulf would then be opened between the Gospels and the Epistles!...What discrepancies, what oppositions would be found between the earlier books and the later!" (Howson)

"Suppose again the Epistles were there, but the Acts of the Apostles left out, how startling would appear the heading 'To the Romans,' which would confront us on turning from the study of the Evangelists! How could we account for the transition involved? How could we explain the great thesis of the Epistles, that there is no difference between Jew and Gentile ...? The earlier Scriptures will be searched in vain for teaching such as this. Not the Old Testament merely but even the Gospels themselves are seemingly separated from the Epistles by a gulf. To bridge over the that gulf is the Divine purpose for which the Acts of the Apostles has been given to the Church. The earlier portion of the book is the completion of and sequel to the Gospels; its concluding narrative is introductory to the great revelation of Christianity." (Anderson)

See also:

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Interesting tidbit - 18 (Revelations 3)

Q:  I have a question about the book of Revelations.  In chapter 3 Jesus is addressing the church at Laodicea. How can He talk about rejecting this church if they are a group of believers? Doesn't this kind of fly in the face of the "once saved always saved" doctrine?

A:  While we like to use the seven churches in Revelations as analogies of the Church today, we must not forget that John's revelation is actually an unveiling to Israel of the Tribulation to come, during which time the good news of the earthly kingdom will again be preached. The assembly at Laodicea then will be primarily made up of religious unbelievers in danger of being "spit out of" the Lord's mouth. This has nothing to do with the loss of their salvation since the majority of them will not have possessed salvation in the first place.

This assembly at Laodicea has drifted far from their covenant relationship with God, which will need to be restored before they can proceed. In time past, God loved Israel, reproved her, disciplined her, and called her to repentance — they were His people. But not all within the chosen nation were saved: “For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring" (Rom 9:6-7).

That the rebuke and call to repentance in Revelation 3 is primarily intended for the unbelievers at Laodicea is confirmed by the fact that the Lord is standing at the door of this assembly, giving them one last opportunity before it’s too late. If they open the door, He will receive them and include them as participants in the marriage of the Lamb and the wedding feast to follow.  The conquerors (Rev 3:21 cf. Rev 2:26) are promised to be seated with Christ on the earth during the millennial kingdom. In that day, Christ will reign on the throne of David in Jerusalem, fulfilling the promise given to David, and these believers will rule "over the nations" with Him (Acts 2:30 cf. Rev 2:25-27). 

Saturday, March 16, 2013

More word plays

I got these recently from a fb friend.  Thanks, Carol! :)

I tried to catch some fog. I mist.

When chemists die, they barium.

A soldier who survived mustard gas and pepper spray is now a seasoned veteran.

I know a guy who’s addicted to brake fluid. He says he can stop anytime.

How does Moses make tea? Hebrews it.

I stayed up all night to see where the sun went. Then it dawned on me.

This girl said she recognized me from the vegetarian club, but I’d never met herbivore.

I’m reading a book about anti-gravity. I can’t put it down.

I did a theatrical performance about puns. It was a play on words.

They told me I had type A blood, but it was a type O.

PMS jokes aren’t funny. Period.

Why were the Indians here first? They had reservations.

Class trip to the Coca-Cola factory. I hope there’s no pop quiz.

Energizer Bunny arrested: Charged with battery.

I didn’t like my beard at first. Then it grew on me.

What do you call a dinosaur with an extensive vocabulary? A thesaurus.

When you get a bladder infection, urine trouble.

What does a clock do when it’s hungry? It goes back four seconds.

I wondered why the baseball was getting bigger. Then it hit me!

Broken pencils are pointless.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Who has bewitched you?

O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh (Gal 3:1-3)?  ESV

You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified? This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh (Gal 3:1-3)?  NASB

Oh, foolish Galatians! Who has cast an evil spell on you? For the meaning of Jesus Christ’s death was made as clear to you as if you had seen a picture of his death on the cross. Let me ask you this one question: Did you receive the Holy Spirit by obeying the law of Moses? Of course not! You received the Spirit because you believed the message you heard about Christ. How foolish can you be? After starting your Christian lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort (Gal 3:1-3)?  NLT

Friday, March 8, 2013

We interrupt this program to bring you a special news bulletin...

At Pentecost, when Peter stood up to explain the gift of tongues, he said that the last days had come (Acts 2:16-17), and that this would be further evidence by two events: (1) the pouring out of the Spirit on God's people and, (2) the pouring out of judgment upon His enemies, all prophesied by Joel regarding "the great and awesome day of the Lord" (Acts 2:14-21 cf. Joel 2:28-32).

We know that the Spirit was poured out.  But, the judgments that were to bring in the day of the Lord were not.  There were no "wonders in heaven" or "blood" or "fire" or "columns of smoke."  The sun was not "turned to darkness," nor the moon "to blood."

Instead, when Israel rejected Peter's offer of the return of Jesus Christ and "the times of refreshing" (Acts 3:19-21) — when the stage was all set for the judgment to fall — God did a wondeful thing.  Our rejected Lord saved Saul of Tarsus and made him the apostle of grace.  It was to this apostle that God gave the glorious message and program which is ours today, that God is now reconciling believing Jews and Gentiles to Himself by grace through faith, apart from the law or works.  All those who accept this offer of "reconciliation" (2 Cor 5:19) become members of the "one body" (1 Cor 12:12-25) and are given "every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places" in Christ (Eph 1:3-4).  The most general term for this good news is "the gospel of the grace of God," which the Apostle Paul declared in Acts 20:24 was specifically given to him (see also Eph 3:1-6).

The prophetic Scriptures contained no hint of this.  It was a mystery "hidden for ages in God," "hidden for ages and generations," and "kept secret for long ages" (Eph 3:9; Col 1:26; Rom 16:25).  This is why Paul again and again calls this great body of truth "the mystery" and tells us to "follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me" (2 Tim 1:8-14).

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

German Pancake

I was first introduced to the German pancake almost 35 years ago.  When my husband and I were newly engaged, we used to go out for breakfast with his folks to a place called "Grandma Sally's."  I usually ordered the apple pancake, but my soon-to-be husband almost always ordered a German pancake.  I remember thinking that his pancake was rather odd-looking.  Not only was it huge, it wasn't flat, AND he put lemon juice and powered sugar on it, not maple syrup.  How strange. 

Sadly, "Grandma Sally's" closed down long ago, but I came across a recipe several years ago that makes German pancakes like the ones made there.  I still think German pancakes are a little odd-looking.  But really, they're quite good.  Give one a try!

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Beat together:
3 large eggs
3/4 c flour
3/4 c milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla or lemon extract

Melt 1 1/2 tbsp butter in a 12-inch cast iron skillet or a German pancake pan.  When hot, pour in the ingredients above.  Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes, lower to 350 degrees and bake for another 10 minutes.  Serve with lemon juice and powered sugar.

Serves 2-4.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

All I Have Is Christ

I once was lost in darkest night
Yet thought I knew the way
The sin that promised joy and life
Had led me to the grave
I had no hope that You would own
A rebel to Your will
And if You had not loved me first
I would refuse You still

But as I ran my hell-bound race
Indifferent to the cost
You looked upon my helpless state
And led me to the cross
And I beheld God’s love displayed
You suffered in my place
You bore the wrath reserved for me
Now all I know is grace

Hallelujah! All I have is Christ
Hallelujah! Jesus is my life

Now, Lord, I would be Yours alone
And live so all might see
The strength to follow Your commands
Could never come from me
O Father, use my ransomed life
In any way You choose
And let my song forever be
My only boast is You

Music and words by Jordan Kauflin