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Thursday, June 21, 2018

What Does the Time of Samuel Teach Us?

            During my Old Testament studies, I was required to write several essays for an Old Testament Survey course.  As part of the overall dynamic of this course, we were always to look for and consider the value of the Old Testament for our lives.  This essay was confined to four specific questions that must be answered:

 During the time of Samuel, why did the people of Israel desire a king? Why was Saul chosen, and, ultimately, why was he rejected? What attribute did David display that made him a better king than Saul? What sin did Solomon commit that ultimately led to the division of Israel after his death?




Israel desired a King

During the time of the Judges the Bible states that “After that whole generation had been gathered to their ancestors, another generation grew up who knew neither the LORD nor what he had done for Israel.”[1]  As you read further in the book of Judges you see that the people of Israel had truly turned away from God and “every man did that which was right in his own eyes.”[2]  By the time that Samuel was old enough to step into the station and position of Judge, Priest and Prophet the people of Israel had already gone through multiple repeated cycles of “apostasy, distress and deliverance.”[3]  Israel’s heart was no longer after God.  The elders of Israel told Samuel that he was getting old and the sons he had appointed as leaders were not following his ways.  This was therefore a good reason for him to give them a king when in truth all they wanted was to be like all the other nations.[4]  In this statement they rejected the Lord God of Israel who had brought them out of Egypt, who had parted the Red Sea, the one who had made them a nation.  Even after being warned what this king would do, what he would take and how he would oppress, they still desired a king.  Israel wanted someone to lead them and fight their battles.  They turned their backs on the covenant and on God.  Samuel prayed and was instructed by God to give his people what they wanted.    

Saul: Chosen and Rejected
Samuel was directed to the right place to meet and anoint Saul the one the Lord spoke of who would lead and govern his people as their king.  Saul was handsome and stood taller than everyone.  On the outside he looked impressive and when introduced to the people they agreed with the choice.  However, he was not God’s true choice

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

A Genesis 1-11 Worldview

     Have you ever looked at Genesis and considered what it says about the natural world, human identity, human relationships or civilization?  Have you contemplated the worldview it represents or how that does or should affect your worldview?  

     Genesis chapters 1-11 take us from the Creation event through the death of Abel, at the hands of Cain, to the tower of Babel.  In those eleven chapters a strong biblical worldview is laid out if we are willing to examine it. 

     
     While working towards my AA in Religion back in 2013 during a survey course of the Old Testament, I was required to really examine the book.  Once examined I had to write an essay regarding Genesis chapters 1-11.  I was required to identify what Genesis 1-11 taught regarding the natural world, human identity, human relationships, and civilization and then to address how this teaching affects or has affected my worldview.  I had to attempt to be concise and yet careful to address each topic within certain time and word count restraints. Below I share with you the product of my examination with no edit of content and only the addition of sectional headings.

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Introduction
Genesis chapter 1 begins with the creation of all things including the creation of man in the image of God.  It is the “beginning of the human race and the beginning of the Hebrew race.” (Hindson & Yates, 2012, p 51).  Through the intervening chapters we are immersed in the revelation of God's great power and humanities depravity.  God shows us how willing he is to bring mankind back into a right relationship with himself.  By the end of chapter 11 we come to the account of Terah who became the father of Abram.  In these chapters, if we will look closely we will see and understand what God would have us know about our natural world, human identity as well as human relationships and civilization as a whole. 

Natural World
            Through these chapters God shows us that our world was truly created for us and for our use.  This natural world around us shows us that there is a creator and he has a plan for everyone and everything.  Genesis 1:11 explains to us how God called forth the seed bearing herbs, grasses and fruit trees to yield after their own kind.  In Genesis 1:21, 24 & 25  God created water, air and land animals all to produce after their own kind.   He placed a light in the sky for daytime and a minor light for night.  Our natural world displays order at all times whereas mankind following evolutionary

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Smyrna: A Fragrant Offering Before the Lord


    
     While I've been away from my blog, I have been pursuing a bachelors in Biblical and Theological Studies.  As part of my work recently, we've been discussing the letters to the angels of the seven churches in the book of Revelation.  During a discussion board one of my classmates chose to discuss the church of Smyrna and below you will find an edited version of my reply.  I share this with the hope to do two things.  First, I hope to make you think about what true persecution looks like as I recently had a classmate refer to having their faith questioned as a matter of persecution.  Sadly, I believe that many who say they have a saving faith in Christ relate many petty things to an "environment of persecution" they feel they are under.... when, in truth, there is no such "environment" around them.  Secondly, I hope to encourage those who truly are undergoing persecution for their faith that the opposite of what the persecutors want will happen.

Smyrna, the persecuted church, is likely one that many today do not want to take a closer look at even though they received praise with no rebuke from Christ.  I think this has everything to do with the idea of persecution.  I believe a quote that would be useful in application to the church of Smyrna compared to today’s church is in the book, "The Book of Revelation Unlocking the Future."  Hindson, the author, said, “It is difficult, if not impossible, for most modern Christians to comprehend what it must be like to risk all you have for Christ.  Most of us struggle with concerns about public embarrassment or social rejection.  We know little or nothing about laying down our lives for the gospel.”[1]  This statement clearly speaks to our current struggle in the church today.

In reference to persecution, it occurred to me how perfect the name Smyrna was for the town/church.  According to Hindson, “Ancient Smyrna was named for a perfume

Monday, January 9, 2017

Integrity, Faith and the Word of God



Integrity - It means honesty, truthfulness, honor, veracity, reliability…basic uprightness…etc.  Do we as Christians understand what integrity means in regards to the Word of God?  


I believe the answer is no.


I’ve spent the last year in deep study of the word of God in pursuit of my degrees and the one thing that I keep coming across within Christian circles is a lack of integrity when it comes to the Word of God.  


Don’t misunderstand…it’s not a lack of integrity with the Bible.  Its integrity is intact.  No, I’m talking about the very people whose responsibility to the Word of God shows a lack of integrity not only in how they conduct themselves but more so in how they represent Him and specifically His word.




The Word of God IS GOD’s WORD.


It is infallible.  It is unbreakable.  It is unstoppable.


It is VALID, UNCHANGING, AND UNCOMPROMISING.




Is this how the church has been representing the Word of God?  Is this how you as a pastor or layman in the church has been representing the Word of God? 



CAN YOU SAY THIS HAS BEEN YOUR WITNESS?


Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Are You Being Asked to Make Changes? To Step Out in Faith?

     Have you ever thought what it must have been like for Abram when God spoke to him and told him to leave all he knew and go to a land that God would show him? 

     God told him to leave his father's household, his people and even his country.  God wanted to bless him and through him bless the whole world but to do so it was necessary that he be separated from all he was familiar with.

     Abram was to be breathed on by God and in the process not only would his name be changed but his destiny would be also.

     We kind of gloss over this part of his story and tend to go straight to what a man of faith he was to take his son up on a mountain and prepare to sacrifice him but his faith didn't start there.
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