and the One who walks with me on it.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

The First to Shed Blood

       The past couple days I've been thinking about the first person (since the creation of man in Gn. 1:26) to shed blood.  While most people would say it was Cain, the truth is, it was someone far more unexpected.  This is from just after man's fall into sin:
And for Adam and his wife Jehovah God made coats of skins, and clothed them. Gn. 3:21
       We can't be sure how long Adam and Eve were in the garden before they sinned for it is only recorded that Adam was 130yrs when he had Seth.  We don't know if the 130 years is from creation or from the fall into sin when man first started 'dying'.  Up until the fall, the herbs, fruit from trees and plants were food.  After the fall, man tried to fix themselves, "...And they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made girdles for themselves." (Gn. 3:7)
       Imagine what would happen with man's solution to their own problem.  Just how long do you think sewn fig leaves would last?  Do you think they'd even survive one night let alone a few hours of movement?  But man didn't need to follow their own ideas of what to do next; they could have called on the Lord right away- but they didn't.  Meanwhile, the Lord already knew what they were up to and came prepared to show them the way of salvation.
       Jehovah God (plural here) made Adam and Eve something far more durable, comfortable, warmer, and at the same time, killed an animal to do so.  The clue is in the word made (asah- fashioned) as opposes to create (bara- bring into being).  In other words, since God didn't create the skin, he had to get it somewhere and that would be an animal which would have to die for the cause.
For the life of the flesh is in the blood... Lv. 17:11,14
...and without shedding of blood is no remission. Hb. 9:22
And Abel also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat of it. And Jehovah had respect to Abel and to his offering, Gn. 4:4
       God was the first to shed blood in order that man could understand the way of salvation was only through sacrifice and blood.  Adam and Eve totally grasped this vivid picture lesson provided by Jehovah.  Sacrifice.  Blood.  Sin covered.  Sacrificing to God for remissions of sin (Lv. 5:10) began and Jehovah had provided a way to restore relationship with man once again. 
       The coats of skins were the first evidence of God's eternal redemption, a shadow of things to come (Hb. 10:1), planned since the beginning through Jesus Christ (1Pt. 1:19,20).  Man's own solution to his sin was never going to restore his relationship to God, but God's perfect plan through the sacrifice and blood (1Jh. 1:7b) of his sinless (Hb. 4:15) Son would do it and would result in eternal life for those who choose to follow Him.
It's our choice...  life or death.
(John said about Jesus)
...Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
Jh. 1:29
...but by His own blood He entered once for all into the Holies,
having obtained eternal redemption for us.
Hb. 9:12

Friday, October 25, 2013

What Comes Next

       I didn't want to get my driver's license at 16, but my Dad made me since I was the last kid at home and someone had to drive Mom around.  I was completely happy riding my bicycle around where ever I needed to go, but Mom didn't want to ride on the back!  So I studied, got my beginners, and said, "Now what?"
Obviously I couldn't just get behind the wheel of a car and drive where ever I wanted to.
       First I had to learn vehicle basics: brakes, steering wheel, gas pedal, mirrors, safety checks, etc. while Dad showed me basic driving skills. Next, I had to sign up for driver's ed.- to get cheaper insurance, do the classroom portion of learning, then the driving portion.  After that I took the driving test, with maximum mistakes allowed, and was given my license.
       To almost everything in life there are general steps that follow after a decision is made, marriage and children being two of the biggies.  But I would also include faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  Yesterday I posted about good works that naturally follow faith, but before that happens there are other things that need to be 'worked' out, and Peter is nice enough to clearly tell us what those steps are.
2Pt. 1:3
according as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge (G1922- precise and correct knowledge) of Him who has called us to glory and virtue,
-by His power (dunamis) God has given us all things that we need for life (zoe) and godliness (eusebeia- reverence, respect, piety towards God)
we are called to:  glory G1391- doxa                   virtue G703- arete
                          opinion, judgment, view            moral excellence as in modesty, purity in
                                                                         thought, feeling and action
2Pt. 1:4
We are given great and precious (valuable) promises so that we may be partakers (sharers) of the divine (godlike) nature (properties, powers, peculiarities, characteristics) having escaped the corruption (decay, ruin) in the world through lust (longing, desire)
2Pt. 1:5
For this very reason, make every effort to add to (fill out) your faith with (what should come next):
virtue- moral excellence as in modesty, purity in thought, feeling and action
knowledge- G1108- knowledge signified in general intelligence, understanding (of general and deeper Christianity, what is lawful or not, moral wisdom and right living)
self control- virtue of one who masters his desires and passions, especially his sensual appetites
patience- a patient enduring, sustaining, perseverance (not swerved from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to faith and piety^ by even the greatest trials and sufferings)
godliness- reverance, respect, piety^ towards God
brotherly kindness- (philadelphia) love of the brethren, which Christians cherish for each other
love- (agape) brotherly love, affection, good will, love, benevolence
^Piety (in principle) is veneration or reverence of Jehovah and love of his character, or veneration accompanied with love; and piety (in practice) is the exercise of these affections in obedience to his will and devotion to his service.
2Pt. 1:8
For if these (7) things are in you and abound, they make you to be neither idle nor unfruitful in the knowledge (G1922) of our Lord Jesus Christ.In other words, if these 7 'traits' abound in you, you will be doing good works and be fruitful in the precise and correct knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  And that is what comes next after faith!

I wonder what would happen if we each put in effort towards achieving, improving these traits in us!

Thursday, October 24, 2013


       How do you know you are loved?  Is it because someone says it to you, or because they show you by their actions?  Personally, I think we need both, but could you imagine hearing "I love you" several times a day from a person who completely ignores you otherwise?  You would doubt that love, wouldn't you?
       I remember watching a tv show once where the girl doubted a guy's love for her until she saw the suitcase he packed for her in her very odd and specific way.  He not only cared enough to pay attention to what her needs in packing were, but then put in the effort to do it her way.  His actions showed his love for her.  His words were proven by his actions.
       It is the same with faith.  Faith in God is how we get saved but if that is all we ever do and we live on, then we are condemned, for the Bible says, " by itself, if it does not prove itself with actions, is dead." (Jm. 2:17 ESV) and nothing dead will be in Heaven.  Now, works cannot and will never save us, but true faith will be proven by natural (or spiritual) by-product called 'good works'.  (good- valuable, virtuous, honest; works- toil, act, deed, labour)
Rahab had faith proven by works (Jm. 2:24,25)
       Faith without works is dead faith because the lack of works reveals an unchanged life or a spiritually dead heart.  To remain unchanged means we are still dead in sin.  "My brothers, what profit is it if a man says he has faith and does not have works? Can faith save him?" (Jm. 2:14) James is saying how can faith save us if there are no works to prove our salvation.  The Bible also says of the wicked, "They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work." (Tt. 1:16)  Food for thought, isn't it?  But God's purpose for us in Christ is for good works, which He ordained long ago. 
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them. Ep. 2:10
(Jesus) who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. Tt. 2:14
The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people. Tt. 3:8
and let us consider one another to provoke to love and to good works, Hb. 10:24
       Though we are saved through faith, that faith, if genuine, will result in a changed us, one that is no longer only out for self, but begins to see through the eyes of Jesus to do the same kind of good works He did, following in His footsteps.  Then our changed lives and hearts  lead to good works which proves our genuine faith.  That is God's purpose for us.
Let your light so shine before men
that they may see your good works
and glorify your Father who is in Heaven.
Mt. 5:16

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

What Did Jesus Do?

       Without looking at His God side, what kind of man was Jesus and how did He treat others?  Well, we know he loved people even though it's not recorded that He went around telling them "I love you" or hugging them, yet He definitely showed love. 
He treated people with respect, compassion, honesty, without regard for status, reputation or gender.  (Jh. 4)
       Jesus shared the truth and tried to help them find eternal life, even giving His own life for the cause (Jh. 15:13).  He shared what He had (Mr. 8:5,6), met physical needs (Lk. 5:1-3), and showed the power of God behind His words by healing (Mt. 9:2-8), doing miracles (Jh. 2:1-12), casting out demons (Mr. 1:25,26), raising the dead (Lk. 8:51-56) and even changing nature (Mt. 8:27).
       Jesus acted as a friend, mentor, brother, advisor, and teacher.  He went out of His way to bring the truth to people, spent many hours teaching, healing, and in prayer.  He tried very hard to show people the way of salvation, even spending time with those considered 'unlovable' or wicked, reaching the 'unreachable' (Mr. 16:9) and touching the 'untouchable' (Mt. 8:3).  Jesus also challenged their thinking, beliefs and traditions in trying to get them to see the truth.
       Now, when you read certain passages in the Bible, it's important to remember Jesus' deeds in order to know just what the Scripture means.  Make sure you think of His acts when reading the following:
For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.  Truly, truly, I say to you, A servant is not greater than his master, neither is he who is sent greater than he who sent him.  If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them. Jh. 13:15-17
having loved His own in the world, He loved them to the end.   Jh. 13:1
       The verses after the foot washing, aren't just about that specific act.  There were several lessons Jesus wanted the disciples to learn from His act of humility, but one of the basic lessons is that of service to others out of love for them.  Jesus said we would do the things He did so we know we have the capability (Jh. 14:12) through Him. 
       So- by His example in treatment of others- we need to do as He has done and follow His example.  And if we do these things, (the things He did) we will be blessed. 
Oh precious Lord, help us to be more like You every day, and to love as you loved!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Best Weight Loss Pill EVER!

       So, a friend of mine mentioned the best weight loss pill ever today (hope you don't mind me using this...) that can help you lose pounds in a day, perhaps way more than that.  Now, they say that a healthy weight loss would be about two to three pounds a week, but I can pretty much guarantee what I share with you will only be beneficial but give better results.  Imagine a new, lighter you... Faster than overnight!
       Just about every adult I know wants to lose weight, at least a few pounds, but some need to lose a lot to improve their health.  Some of us seem not too bad but have hidden floppy parts we don't like to expose, trust me though, most have weight to lose.  Personally I've gained and lost a lot of weight over the years, but in the end I can't say the scale in my bathroom tells the whole truth.  It misses out on my biggest weight loss ever.
       In 2005, I'm pretty sure my weight was up to about...    5000 lbs.  I was walking around carrying the 'weight of the world' on my shoulders: the burdens of life, troubles, tragedy, sorrow, crushed dreams.  And there, in the middle of the worst trial of my life, not believing I would survive, I finally gave it up- my control that is.  In other words, I 'fully' surrendered to God in a way I'd never done before.  Immediately, it was like I'd lost 2 tons (still 1000 lbs left for those who don't know the conversion).  God delivered me- not from the trial I was in, but from the bondage of oppression that weighed so heavily upon me.
I am Jehovah your God, who has brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Ex. 20:2
       Suddenly I found peace beyond understanding (Php. 4:7) and joy in the presence of the Lord (Ps. 16:11) both of which I hadn't felt for years.  Suddenly I didn't feel alone any longer, for my heart was once again open to my Love, and life seemed survivable.  Suddenly, I knew everything was going to be okay, even if my circumstances never changed.

       In June of 2006 the Lord gave us a medical miracle which dramatically changed the trial, but I was already tons better mentally and spiritually.  That peace and joy remained even after I was diagnosed with cancer a few months later, because this time I was believing God that all would be good, and leaning heavily on Him.  Still, there was that last 1000 pounds left on me that the Lord continued to free me from a little more each day, restoring life to this body.
       It was late 2012 when I felt like the remainder lifted.  The Lord released me from the rest of the weight on me (felt like that anyway), and the feeling of freedom, true freedom is beyond any description*.  All the things that kept me weighed down lifted off of me.  Troubles are still around, but it seems easy to shrug them off now because I know the two most important things: God is with me through everything, all the time, and He wants good for me therefore I can trust Him to make everything good- eventually.
Come to Me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke on you and learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and you shall find rest to your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light. Mt. 11:28-30
       So, I guess what I'm saying here is that God is like the best weight loss pill ever, but in order to receive His benefits to their full, we've got to swallow our pride and surrender.   I promise that if you do, your life will never be the same again.  You'll be free!

(for more on this freedom, read here, here, and here)
Therefore if the Son shall make you free,
you shall be free indeed.
Jh. 8:36
Stand fast therefore in the liberty
with which Christ has made us free,
and do not again be held with the yoke of bondage.
Gl. 5:1