Saturday, December 11, 2010

Who Was the Man Jacob Wrestled?

This section of scripture has always been one of my favorites, because no matter which interpretation you choose to accept you cannot deny the determination of Jacob. Throughout most of my research there were only two real camps of thought; the first being that he was actually wrestling God himself, or he was mere wrestling an angel. The majority of commentators agree that the man who Jacob wrestled with was God, showing up in a theophany.

Only one commentator made a concise argument for why he believed the man could have simply been an angel. John Walton in his commentary says, “Who is this stranger? The narrator refers to him throughout the episode as “a man” (Heb. Is), which is as noncommittal as our referring to “an individual” who wrestles with Jacob. At the end of the episode, Jacob designates the individual as elohim (32:30). This word usually is a designation for deity but can be use for any supernatural being. The clearest statement comes in Hosea 12:4, where the prophet indicates that Jacob struggled with an angel. Since an angel can be legitimately referred to either as and is or as elohim, Hosea does not contradict either of the statements of Genesis, so it offers the most acceptable solution.” (Walton 2001, 606) So according to Walton the use of either of these words could refer simply to an angel; and that is why he believes that Jacob probably wrestled with an angel. My concern is how could a mere angel have authority to change his name, and bless him the way this one did?

On the other hand both John MacArthur and Bruce Waltke agree that the man with whom Jacob wrestled was God himself. In his commentary John MacArthur says this, “The site name, Peniel, or “face of God,” given by Jacob (v.30) and the commentary given by Hosea (Hos. 12:4) identifies this Man with whom Jacob wrestled as the Angel of the Lord who is also indentified as God, a preincarnate appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ.” (MacArthur 2005, 59) So as we can see both MacArthur and Walton reference the verse in Hosea 12:4 and each of them have a different understanding of the verse.

Bruce Waltke in his commentary keeps his point very concise, he says, “The nondescript statement heightens the story’s tension. Who has come to struggle with Jacob? Only later does the reader recognize the man as the invisible God.” (Waltke 2001, 445) Waltke makes this statement because of verse thirty where Jacob names the place Peniel. If Jacob had thought he met a mere angel, then I believe he would have chosen a more appropriate name for that area.

My conclusion of this subject is the man the Jacob wrestled with that night was none other than God himself. God came upon Jacob at a time when he needed to be shown who he truly was as the barer of the covenant that was made with his grandfather years ago. Yes, God could have over taken him at any time and I believe that is why he merely chose to displace his hip and not kill him. Also only one who is greater than you could change your name, just like Jesus did to Peter, he also did to Jacob that night.

Works Cited

MacArthur, John. The MacArthur Bible Commentary. Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, 2005.

Waltke, Bruce K. Genesis- A Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2001.

Walton, John H. The NIV Application Commentary on Genesis. Grand Rapids,MI: Zondervan, 2001.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

What Is the Sin of Ham?

Like many of us I usually remember Noah for building the Ark, and of course being the one chosen to survive the Great Flood. I also would remember him being drunk, because it was interesting to read of a man of God in that state. The one thing that never really stood out to me was the sin of Ham. Several commentators will refer back to rabbi saying that the sin of Ham was sexual in nature. That is a little hard to believe, the text does however say he saw his father’s “nakedness”. The Hebrew word being used here for “nakedness” is rwh, this word is used fifty-two times in the Old Testament, and 49 out of 52 it is translated nakedness, the other times it is translated indecency or naked. Two of the strongest views about this subject, or at least well argued were Bruce Waltke and John H. Walton.

Walton takes the stance that we can possibly infer from the text that Noah was not alone in his tent saying, “Since the “nakedness of the father” can include the nakedness of the mother and since the nakedness of the father is a euphemism for coitus (throughout Lev. 18 and 20), is it possible that both Noah and his wife have become drunk and, falling in to unconsciousness after intercourse, lie exposed in the tent?” (Walton 2001, 348) He also goes onto suggest that the sin of Ham is hinting at impregnating his mother.

I do believe that Bruce Waltke makes a much more believable point in saying, “His voyeurism, however, is of the worst sort. Voyeurism in general violates another’s dignity and robs that one of his or her instinctive desire for privacy and for propriety. It is a form of domination. Ham’s, however, is perverse, for his homosexual voyeurism. Worse yet, he dishonors his father, whom he should have revered in any case (Ex.21:15-17; Duet. 21:18-21; Mark 7:10), and then increases his dishonor by proclaiming it to others.” (Waltke 2001, 149)

Basically the sin of Ham was the dishonor of viewing his father naked and then trying to include his brothers in the same dishonor by telling them of the state of their father. Some commentators go onto say that the reason Noah curses Canaan is due to the perverse nature of Ham, and the Canaanite peoples adopted a similar attitude and lifestyle.

Waltke, Bruce K. Genesis- A Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2001.

Walton, John H. The NIV Application Commentary on Genesis. Grand Rapids,MI: Zondervan, 2001.


A Brief Look at Melchizedek

If you are like me when you read this part of Genesis, you might say “Who in the world is Melchizedek?” There is no other mention of him in Genesis anywhere and he is only mentioned two more times in all of Scripture with those being Psalm 110:4; and Hebrews 7. We are not told much about him, but the controversy that surrounds him is very interesting, there are some people who will tell you he was just a man mentioned in passing or he was in fact Shem, others will say he was a Christophany, and lastly some will say that he was a foreshadow of the coming Christ.

Let us take a closer look at this man, his name Melchizedek means “righteous king”. He was not only the king of Salem (which means peace), he was also a priest of the Most High God. Now concerning Salem most commentators agree that it was probably ancient Jerusalem.

Pastor John MacArthur says this about Melchizedek, “The lack of biographical and genealogical particulars for this ruler, whose name meant “righteous king” and who was a king-priest over ancient Jerusalem, allowed for later revelation to use him as a type of Christ (cf. Ps 110:4, Heb7:17,21)… The use of El Elyon (Sovereign Lord) for God’s name indicated that Melchizedek, who used the title two times (vv. 18,19), worshiped, served, and represented no Canaanite deity, but the same one whom Abram called Yahweh El Elyon (v. 22)” (MacArthur 2005, 34) Pastor MacArthur makes some very valid points, ones which are hard to argue against. He also mentions how Melchizedek was probably a greater figure in that time than Abram himself.

John Walton in his commentary on Genesis takes a very firm stance, pointing out, “In the Talmud (b. Ned. 32b) and Targum Neofiti, Melchizedek is identified as Shem.” In support of his views of the king of Salem, Walton goes on to say, “The author of Hebrews is not drawing his information on Melchizedek solely from the Old Testament; he is also interacting with the traditions known to his audience. … As a result there is nothing in Hebrews or anywhere else to suggest that we need to believe that Melchizedek was anything other than the Canaanite king he is depicted as in Genesis 14.” (Walton 2001, 426-27) Walton makes his point rather clear that he believes that Melchizedek was nothing more than a regular king with whom Abram ate a meal.

Warren Wiersbe also speaks of Melchizedek’s Christ likeness, saying, “Hebrews 7 and Psalm 110 both connect Melchizedek with Jesus Christ, the “King of peace” and the “King of righteousness” (85:10). Like Melchizedek in Abraham’s day, Jesus Christ is our King-Priest in heaven, enabling us to enjoy righteousness and peace as we serve Him (Isa.32:17; Heb 12:11). Certainly we can see in the bread and wine a reminder of our Lord’s death for us on the cross.” (Wiersbe 2007, 65)

Throughout all of my readings the best conclusion that I can come to is that Melchizedek was a great king and priest who loved and served the Lord (El Elyon). John MacArthur and Warren Wiersbe have the strongest points, in believing that he was more than a mere earthly king but an allusion to the coming Christ. The largest support for this view is found in Hebrews 7, showing how Christ is in the line and a greater Melchizedek.

MacArthur, John. The MacArthur Bible Commentary. Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, 2005.

Walton, John H. The NIV Application Commentary on Genesis. Grand Rapids,MI: Zondervan, 2001.

Wiersbe, Warren W. The Wiersbe Bible Commentary. Colorado Springs,CO: David C. Cook, 2007.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Is Genesis 3:15 Really the Protoevangelium?

Before we can attempt to answer the question of whether or not Genesis 3:15 is really the protoevangelium, we must first define what is “protoevangelium”. The protoevangelium is the first gospel, or the first mention of the good news of a redeemer. This topic is highly debated between the dozen or so commentaries I consulted, it is split closely down the middle with many commentators leaning to the answer that yes this is the protoevangelium.

The strongest proponent against this verse not being the protevangelium, had to be John Walton. Walton says, “If we are going to take the text at face value, even on a canonical scale, we must conclude that 3:15 describes only the ongoing struggle between evil (represented by the serpent and all representatives of evil that succeed it) and humanity generation through generation.” (Walton 2001, 235-36) In light of his own argument Walton has somehow ignored the use of the words he and his in the verse. While he concentrated extensively on the grammatical use of the word “seed”, he did not really mention the fact that the word he (hu in the Hebrew) is used in a singular fashion. The word (hu) translated he is used in the Old Testament 1258 times and of those it is translated he 516. So it is a strong indication that this verse could be pointing towards one man in particular.

Bruce Waltke in his commentary on Genesis makes a very insightful point, “”Offspring” renders zera “seed”, which is used commonly as a figure for descendants. Like the English word, zera can refer to an immediate descendant (Gen 4:25, 15:3), a distant offspring, or a large group of descendants… Since the woman’s seed struggles against the serpent’s seed, we infer that it has a collective sense. But since only the head of the serpent is represented as crushed, we expect an individual to deliver the fatal blow and be struck uniquely on his heel.” (Waltke 2001, 93)

This explanation makes great sense to many of us, because we have sat in Sunday school classes or heard sermons referring to the seed of Abraham as being the whole nation of Israel. However when we hear things in the same verse, that are explained an a singular sense it tends to be a little confusing, unless we put in light of Christ defeating Satan on the cross. Warren Wiersbee explains how this verse is fulfilled at the cross, “At the cross, Satan “bruised” Christ’s heel, but because of His death and resurrection, Christ crushed Satan’s head and won complete victory over him (Eph. 1:17-23; Col. 2:14-15).” (Wiersbe 2007, 29)

A slightly alternate view that has been offered is that of John MacArthur, he speaks of Jesus winning the battle against Satan and the role we as believers play in it. MacArthur says, “Believers should recognize that they participate in the crushing of Satan because, along with the Savior and because of His finished work on the cross, they also are the woman’s seed.” (MacArthur 2005, 18)

In light of all the differing viewpoints, this writer believes that Genesis 3:15 is the protoevangelium. In the New Testament we can find several allusions back to the verse in Genesis (Rom. 16:20, Heb.2:14; Gal. 4:4). Mark Driscoll in his book Vintage Jesus gives us a little more insight into why this verse points to Christ through the virgin birth. Driscoll says, “God promises that Jesus would be born from a woman. This is unusual because the rest of Scripture speaks of children being born from their father. Here however, no father is mentioned for Jesus, which implies the he would not have a biological earthly father.” (Driscoll and Breshears 2007, 90) Understanding how birth is described in Israel normally following the father’s line gives us a greater understanding of how this verse can point to the coming Christ.

Looking at all of the different factors we have been provided I am fully confident in saying that this verse is the Protoevangelium.

Driscoll, Mark, and Gerry Breshears. Vintage Jesus. Wheaton,IL: Crossway Books, 2007.

MacArthur, John. The MacArthur Bible Commentary. Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, 2005.

Waltke, Bruce K. Genesis- A Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2001.

Walton, John H. The NIV Application Commentary on Genesis. Grand Rapids,MI: Zondervan, 2001.

Wiersbe, Warren W. The Wiersbe Bible Commentary. Colorado Springs,CO: David C. Cook, 2007.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The "Desire" of Eve

Desire, in our culture it has so many different connotations. What exactly was the desire (tswqh) of Eve in Genesis 3:16? In its original Hebrew form the word tswqh is only used three times in the Old Testament twice in genesis and once in the Song of Songs. While several of the commentators agree that the desire being referred to here correlates directly to the reference also being made in Genesis 4:7. John MacArthur says it this way, “Sin has turned the harmonious system of God-ordained roles into distasteful struggles of self-will. Lifelong companions, husbands and wives, will need God’s help in getting along as a result. The woman’s desire will be to lord it over her husband, but the husband will rule by divine design (Eph. 5:22-25).” (MacArthur 2005, 18) After reading what John MacArthur had to say as well as several other commentators who share his same view point it made sense. Because, for anyone of us who has been married for any length of time can recognize the struggles that play out in our homes due to our sin natures.

However I would be doing a disservice if I did not share the rest of my findings. John H. Walton in his commentary on Genesis not only compares the two references found in Genesis he also analyzes the reference in Song of Songs. Walton says, “Song of Songs refers to the male sexual drive, a basic instinct. Genesis 4:7 refers to the basic driving instinct of sin, which is to deprave. In 3:16, then, since the context has already addressed the issue of reproduction that can easily be identified as a basic instinct of a woman…The answer is found in the woman’s instinct, her desire is to have children. The text sees that a desire as “for [her] husband” because such a desire cannot be fulfilled without his cooperation.” (Walton 2001, 228)

Both men make extremely valid points; and while I feel they each carry some truth with them. I must admit I lean more towards the view of John MacArthur, because Paul writes to us in Ephesians 5:22 “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.” [1] Reminding wives that since the curse they must be mindful to follow the lead of their husbands, and not fight fro control.

MacArthur, John. The MacArthur Bible Commentary. Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, 2005.

Walton, John H. The NIV Application Commentary on Genesis. Grand Rapids,MI: Zondervan, 2001.

[1] The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Eph 5:22.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

A Brief Look at Being Made in God’s Image

When you hear someone say, “We are made in the image of God.” What do you envision? Is it something like a portly person sitting around with your legs folded, spouting off pithy statements? For others they may feel that being made in the image of God, we have somehow been endowed with super powers, making us capable of doing anything. However, I don’t believe that is what the Bible is trying to tell us at all.
As good students of Scripture we have to learn to take things in their context. From our context there are at least two ways that we can understand what this text is trying to tell us. First God created everything and is in control of everything. Please take note the when God made the animals of the land and the birds of the air, or the fish of the sea they were after own kind. Therefore by creating man to rule in dominion over creation, he made us in his own image to act as his viceroys on earth.
Another way the phrase could be looked at is when God speaks of creating us, it specifically refers to man and woman being one in different forms as God himself is. John Sailhamer in is commentary on Genesis makes a good statement about this, “Following this clue the divine plurality expressed in v.26 is seen as an anticipation of the human plurality of the man and woman, thus casting the human relationship between man and woman in the role of reflecting God’s own personal relationship with himself.” (Sailhamer 1981, 38)
After delving into this study I would agree with both options I have presented, we are both viceroys in charge of what the Lord has given us and also as man and woman we are the greatest example of his plurality that can be witnessed on earth. And as far as the creation account explaining the relationship to the woman to the man, God looked at everything else he had created and saw that it was good, but it was not good for man to be alone. So he then created woman after man to give him a companion or a help mate. It was not a sub-serviant role because we are told that he created them male and female. She is there to help complete and fulfill man since Adam was made from the ground and Eve (woman) came from his flesh. “Then the man said,“This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” (Genesis 2:23, ESV)
Sailhamer, John H. The Expositor's Bible Commentary- Genesis. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1981.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

I AM The Bread Of Life ~ Jesus

Imagine ancient Israel in early spring time, the air is slightly chilled but not cold. There has been talk of a man in Jerusalem who is a great healer; he has healed a nobleman’s son without ever touching him. The controversy that surrounds this man is incredible; the Jews are getting upset with him because he healed a lame man on the Sabbath. Now his name can be heard amongst the chatter, it is Jesus of Nazareth. He has left Jerusalem, he is getting closer to home, nearing the Sea of Galilee (also known as the Sea of Tiberias). There is a huge crowd following him, it’s hard to make out how many people are there, but there are at least five thousand men. And some of these men have been following Jesus since he left Jerusalem; others have joined in the journey from their respective towns. They have brought no food and are getting hungry; some of these men have not eaten for as much as three days according some estimates.

Out of this large crowd Andrew locates one young boy who has five loaves of bread and two fish. Bear in mind these are not loaves of bread as we think of them; they are more like dinner rolls and the fish are small like young mackerel. The child willingly gives what he has to the Lord, and Jesus blesses it giving thanks to the Father. All the people who were there ate their fill; and when they were done Jesus told his disciples to pick up the leftovers so that none maybe lost. Shortly after this Jesus went by himself up the mountain not wanting the people to try and forcibly make him their king. That night after feeding the five thousand; the disciples got into the boat to cross the sea and go home to Capernaum, Jesus was not with them, he was still on the mountain. They had gotten roughly three or four miles out and the sea began to get rough, and in the distance they could see a figure, it was Jesus walking on the water.

The next morning the crowds came looking for Jesus and could not find him or his disciples they headed across the sea to Capernaum. Upon finding him they ask him “Why have you come here?” He replies saying “You have not come looking for me because I did miracles but because you had your fill of the loaves.” (Jn 6:26 paraphrased) He continues telling them not to work for food that will perish, but they should seek that which will endure until eternal life. Jesus continues in a conversation with the crowd about how they need the bread of God, and the people ask for him to give them this bread always (Jn 6:34)

To their request “Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.[1]” This is a very powerful statement to be made by any man. In a small discourse that takes place prior to this statement Jesus and this group were discussing the provision of God through Moses. That while in the wilderness with no major food source, readily available for a large multitude of people (the Israelite nation), God provided manna and water for those people. Dr. Towns says of the manna, “Manna was one of several types of Christ in the Old Testament. Given to Israel originally as their bread in the wilderness, God stopped providing it only after the nation crossed the Jordan River and began eating the grain of the land. It was widely known as “the bread from heaven.”” (Towns 2002, 63)

Asaph wrote of the great provision of heaven in the psalms, “and he rained down on them manna to eat and gave them the grain of heaven.”[2] With this verse in particular he is speaking of the manna, while throughout the rest of the psalm he is referring to the people questioning God; and God displaying his power. As an example, most people in today’s society can go all day and not eat a single slice of bread or anything like it. In ancient Israel meat was a luxury that was not always available. Leon Morris states it this way, “We should bear in mind that for the ancients bread was the principal element in the normal diet. People did not have available the variety of foods that we take for granted, and bread could stand for prosperity (Deut. 8:9; Prov. 12:11,etc) and the lack of it for adversity (Lam 1:11).” (Morris 1989, 110-11) Now take a look at how God showed himself to the widow through Elijah and the bread she was willing to be generous with (1 Kings 17:8-16). God again provided for the physical needs of his prophet and showed his power to a gentile.

While the revealing of God in the Old Testament through Christ statement, “I am the bread of life” may be a bit of a challenge, there is great joy to be found in its meaning. Even though the nation of Israel wondered for forty years in the wilderness, God continually provided for them physically. They did not really have to believe in who God was; all they had to do was be considered as part of the nation of Israel and receive the blessed gift of the manna (or bread of heaven). However, Jesus was making a great distinction between how Moses helped them receive the physical blessing, and how he was the ultimate spiritual blessing. Tenney puts it this way, “Jesus informed the people that Moses did not give them the real spiritual bread…. Jesus did not mean that the manna had no food value; he meant it was not the means of sustaining spiritual life. He claimed to be the genuine and only source of spiritual nourishment.” (Tenney 1981, 75)

Amazingly the crowd the Lord was speaking with was either unwilling or incapable of understanding that Lord was not referring to actual bread but to himself. He speaks to them in such a way that anyone could begin to understand, he is no longer referring to a physical provision, but the greatest spiritual provision we could ever ask for. While bread provides the sustenance needed for the body, Christ himself provides nourishment for the soul. Warren Wiersbe makes a great case for this by saying, “Also, God gave the manna in the past, but the Father is now giving the true bread in the person of Jesus Christ. The past event is finished, but the present spiritual experience goes on!

Then Jesus clearly identified what the bread is: He is the true Living Bread that came down from heaven. But He came, not only for Israel but for the whole world. And He came, not just to sustain life, but to give life! Seven times in this sermon, our Lord referred to His “coming down from heaven” (John 6:33, 38, 41–42, 50–51, 58), a statement that declared Him to be God. The Old Testament manna was but a type of the “true bread,” the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Wiersbe 2007, 250)

Jesus’ statement that he is the bread of life is powerful, because he not only says it once he repeats it to his audience in a slightly different fashion to be able to make an even stronger impact. Just as Mr. Wiersbe, Dr. Towns mentions the fact of Christ speaking of coming down out of heaven. Dr. Towns says this of the bread of heaven, “The genuine bread of God from heaven is that which gives life….John Chrysostom, one of the church fathers, contrasted manna with Christ, noting that while manna brought nourishment (trophe), it failed to give life (zoe). Christ is the bread of everlasting life.” (Towns 2002, 63)

For the Jews to hear these statements not once, but twice it had to infuriate them. Because they understand that God is the author and sustainer of life and outside of him there is no life. To drive home the point that life is not found on earth but given from heaven John Calvin has this to say, “He frequently mentions his coming down from heaven, because spiritual incorruptible life will not be found in this world, the fashion which passes away and vanishes, but only in the heavenly kingdom of God.” (Calvin 2005, 261) So in Christ saying, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.”[3] His listeners must be thinking to themselves, “This man is crazy the Law prohibits us from drinking blood or even eating meat with blood still in it.” For the Jews the power of life was found in the blood that is the primary reason they would not embalm. However, Christ was not telling them to be cannibals; he was telling them that they would perish if they did not accept his redemptive work on the cross.

Just like the Christians of the first century, believers of every generation since have heard these words and made the active choice to eat of “the bread of life.” Jesus has kept his word and provided for his people.


Calvin, John. Calvin's Commentaries. Vol. 22. 22 vols. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2005.

MacArthur, John. The MacArthur Bible Commentary. Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, 2005.

Morris, Leon. Jesus is the Christ. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1989.

Tenney, Merrill C. The Expositor's Bible Commentary - John. Edited by Frank E. Gaebelein. Vol. 9. 12 vols. Grand Rapids,MI: Zondervan, 1981.

Towns, Elmer. John Believe and Live. Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2002.

Walvoord, John F, Roy B. Zuck, and Dallas Theological Seminary. The Bible Knowledge Commentary: Exposition of the Scripture. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1983.

Wiersbe, Warren W. The Wiersbe Bible Commentary. Colorado Springs,CO: David C. Cook, 2007.

[1] The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Jn 6:35.

[2] The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Ps 78:24

[3] The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Jn 6:53.


Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Resurrection is the Greatest Sign

If you want to truly call yourself a student of the Bible I see no way you can get around the fact that the resurrection of Jesus is the greatest sign of the gospel. Even though this is not a sign Jesus does himself it is a sign acted out upon him by the Holy Spirit through the guidance of the Father. We can easily validate this as being the greatest sign that Christ chose to give us, because he tells us so. In chapter two of John’s gospel he has just cleansed the temple and the Jews wanted an explanation. “So the Jews said to him, “What sign do you show us for doing these things?” 19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” 20 The Jews then said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?” 21 But he was speaking about the temple of his body. 22 When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the Scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.” [1] He made sure to give them sign that was beyond adequate.

The Jews were always looking for Jesus to provide a sign of some sort for the things he was doing or to prove he was the Messiah (or Christ). Warren Wiersbe sums it up well by saying, “Often, during His ministry, the leaders asked Jesus to give them a sign; and He refused to do so, except for the sign of Jonah (Matt. 12:39ff). The “sign of Jonah” is death, burial, and resurrection.”[2] This sign is even greater than the rest; it shows the culmination of his power. Sadly however some commentators chose not to recognize his resurrection as a great sign. While some struggle with believing Jesus is as powerful as he claimed to be. As believers we can trust that as Leon Morris says, “He is such a great person that even death gives place to him.” (Morris 1989, 118) Meaning that death has no control over Jesus, he told his disciples that even though he will lay down his life he has the power to take it back up again.(Jn 10:17)

One major thing we have to remember, while we may regret the fact that Jesus had to die such a brutal death on our behalf, if he had not died he could not have risen to be by the Father’s side. The great gift we receive by his death and resurrection is His Holy Spirit as Dr. Towns states, “But in the center of hatred, Jesus reminds them that they will be sustained by the Holy Spirit’s presence.” (Towns 2002, 159). His resurrection continues to be a sign, strengthening us today and giving us hope for the future.


Morris, Leon. Jesus is the Christ. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1989.

Towns, Elmer. John Believe and Live. Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2002.

[1] The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Jn 2:18–22.

[2] Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1996), Jn 2:12.

Friday, October 8, 2010

God vs. Satan- an Essay on Dualism

Dualism is nothing new it has existed for centuries, it was once highly embraced by Mani and taught by him and later declared a heresy. A popular form of dualism has taken root in eastern philosophy; it’s commonly referred to as the “Yin-Yang” meaning that good and bad are equal opposing forces. If this were true that would mean that God is not God and fully in control, because he would share the same amount of power with Satan. God far surpasses Satan on so many levels; God is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent; while Satan is incapable of any of these qualities. God is the creator He has no beginning while we know that Satan was created by God. Dr. Towns says this about Satan’s abilities “Satan’s inability to create or be original, offers some insight into the mental capacity of Satan.” (Towns 2008, 2002, 380)

For whatever reason in our society today people either deny the existence of Satan or they will deny the fact that he is a fallen angel. Ezekiel 28:13-19, and Isaiah 14:12-15 also in 2 Peter 2:4 these scriptures speak clearly of Satan, these passages give us a good understanding that Satan was an angel who swelled with pride and thought he may over take God. In His perfect righteousness God could not allow Satan to challenge him, so He cast him out of heaven. God executed his judgment of Satan on several levels, he was first confined to the earth (Rev 12:12-17), then he will be confined for the millennium (Isa 24; Rev 20), his final judgment is being cast into the lake of fire and sulfur. (Rev 20:10)

There are several stances that have been taken to try and prove that the writers of the OT books Isaiah and Ezekiel were not writing prophetically of Satan, but rather of kings of their age or ones to come. To them I say how could the king be in the Garden of Eden (Ez 28:13), or told he was an anointed guardian cherub (Ez 28:14)? Isaiah speaks of the audacity of Satan in chapter 14:14, where Lucifer feels he can be like God himself. Dr. Towns states this clearly, “The ultimate desire of Satan was to take God’s place.” (Towns 2008, 2002, 362) As I have stated previously Satan does not possess the immutable characteristics of God, he lacks omniscience, omnipotence, and omnipresence. I strongly feel that one of the greatest sources of Scripture to point out all the ways Satan is lacking is the Book of Job particularly chapter one. The fact that Satan was on the earth and had to leave it to enter in to the presence of the Lord shows he is not omnipresent. When the Lord has to mention to him have you considered my servant Job (Job 1:8) shows that he is not omniscient or the Lord would not have had to tell him of Job. The Lord also sets limits to the things Satan could do to Job, if he were omnipotent there would be no equal or greater force to stop him from doing what he wills.

Satan was originally created as an angel; their primary purposes are for the glory of God. While the word angel technically means a “messenger”, Dr. Towns says this of his origins, “Satan was also originally created as a being with power and personality and the freedom of choice. He was an angel with apparent honor and leadership in heaven. When Satan’s pride blinded him and led him to exercise his will in rebellion against God, he was cast out of heaven (Isa 14:12-15, cf. 2Peter 2:4; Jude 6)” (Towns 2008, 2002, 361)

When we chose to yield to sin we may blame Satan, however we may be giving him credit where it is not due. After the fall of Adam we are all indwelt with a sin nature that makes us all chase after our own longings. Satan merely takes our own inclinations to sin and sets us up in the perfect situations to give in. While God can understand a persons inner motivations Satan is only capable of gleaning information we make available to him, “This means Satan cannot read the thoughts of men, but he can predict their thoughts and actions based on his knowledge of their sinful nature.” (Towns 2008, 2002, 382) So while we may be tempted to sin we are never flung into it. Paul clearly tells us in 1 Corinthians 10:13 we always have a way of escape.

Let these things resonate deep within you, and the next time someone tries to tell you that God and Satan are equal tell them, “Not a chance”. Then explain why.

Word Count: 784

Towns, Elmer. Theology for Today. Mason, OH: Cengage Learning, 2008, 2002.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Spiritual Gifts for this generation?

Spiritual gifts is a term that’s not easily understood by some in the church and especially those outside of the church. People often times get them mixed up and confused with the Fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23). Spiritual gifts are endowments given to us to edify the body of Christ, sometimes these gifts can be natural talents we’ve already possessed and the Lord increases our ability to use them for his glory. Other gifts may be things we could never imagined. However as we grow in our relationship with Christ we also begin to bear more fruit (Jn 15:1-8). The Fruits of the Spirit are a sign of our maturation, because as we grow in each successive fruit enhances and becomes more evident. This does not mean that they will always develop in exact order as an example; when you grow in a lifestyle of love, you have more joy, which allows you peace, leading to patience with others, showing kindness and goodness, proving your faithfulness to the Lord, which gives you a gentleness in dealing with others, and proving you have self control.

Now spiritual gifts are those things listed in 1 Corinthians 12 and Romans 12 (keeping in mind these are not exhaustive list). After a person has given their life over to the Lord, he blesses them by giving them at least one special talent that can be used for the building up of the body of Christ. Wayne Grudem in his book Systematic Theology gives a list of several great examples of how one classification can be broken down into smaller subsets (for examples look on pg 1020).

Concerning the baptism of the Holy Spirit it is my understanding that we receive His presence at the time of our conversion. There is no “second blessing” there may be times when we are closer to the presence of the Lord being guided closer by the Spirit. Elwell states it this way, “In these references the Christian’s reception of the Holy Spirit is no longer the alternative to a water baptism of repentance, but at least its fitting analogue, more probably its supplement and fulfillment. Since for Judaism, for John, and for the apostolic church baptism by water was a rite of initiation into the people of God, the initial experience of the Spirit’s indwelling and enduement came to be called a “baptism in” or “with” the Holy Spirit.” (Elwell 1984,2001, 137)

According to 1 Corinthians 14 the gift of speaking in tongues consist of a man not speaking to men but to God and this usually will occur in a time of prayer and worship. It says that no one understands him but he utters mysteries in the Spirit. And for those who speak in tongues build up themselves. Seeing as how there are many gifts and none of us posses all of them, speaking in tongues is not necessarily the sign of the baptism of the Spirit. Elwell says, “In verses 29-30 it is clear that Paul denies the contention of the enthusiast that every on truly should speak in tongues: “ Are all apostles?... Do all speak in tongues?”” (Elwell 1984,2001, 1207)

Speaking in tongues is still valid today, but no longer as a way to lead people to the Lord (with the exception of some missionary work). Speaking in tongues should primarily be used as a private prayer language, although if someone feels they have the gift of tongues and chose to use it in corporate worship without an interrupter they are violating scripture (1 Cor 14:27-28). In reference to the prefect in verses 8-10 Paul is referring to the time when we shall be face to face with the Lord, because for now we live in an imperfect world.

Many cessationist and dispensationalist would say that the gift of speaking in tongues ceased with the apostles. If this were true then why would Paul speak about the gifts continuing until the “perfect comes”. Since we understand the perfect to be the time we see the Father “face to face”, so until the due time we possess these gifts he has given each to his own (including tongues). So whatever gift you have been given exercise it well that you may encourage the body Christ by doing your part.


Elwell, Water A., ed. Evangelical Dictionary of Theology. Grand Rapids,MI: BakerAcademic, 1984,2001.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Are You Being Pruned or Cut Off?

For many of us today the scenario in which the Lord uses in John 15:1-8 may not make much sense, seeing as how many of us live in more metropolitan settings. However, to those he was speaking to it made perfect sense, because ancient Israel was a more agrarian society. In order for certain plants to grow and produce fruit there are times they must be pruned, like rose bushes for example. If you allow a rose bush to grow out of control the flowers are not as plentiful and the beauty of the buds are lackluster at best.

In times past Israel was considered to be the vine, that is why Jesus says, “I am the true vine….” showing that he is taking the place of Israel. John gives a great example of this in chapter 15 verse 2, “Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. [1]” So as we grow in following Christ we must be “pruned” in order to grow. Charles Spurgeon says this about pruning, “Many trials are not sent for chastisements at all, but as preparations for higher usefulness.”Every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth,” evidently not because of any offense in the branch, but because the branch is good and does bear fruit! Therefore, it is allowed the special privilege of the pruning knife that it may bring forth more fruit.” (Spurgeon 2005, 303)

Dr. Towns says, “The problem with secret discipleship is that it amounts to a contradiction in terms. Sooner or later, either the secrecy will destroy their discipleship or their discipleship will destroy their secrecy.” (Towns 2002, 125) In living a life as a branch we will produce fruit which we cannot hide, if we do not we will be removed from the vine. Some commentators believe that those who do never bear fruit, truly did not know the Lord to begin with.

We’ve all had moments in our lives, when we’ve tried to do things for the glory of God and we never consulted him about it. Christ is adamant that without him we are incapable of doing anything (Jn 15:5) Leon Morris says, “The condition of fruitfulness in Christian service is vital contact with Christ. On our own we can do nothing.” (Morris 1989, 121) What does the Lord mean when he says, “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.[2]”? Tenney sums it up this way, “ To remain in Christ and to allow his words to remain in oneself means a conscious acceptance of the authority of his word and a constant contact with him by prayer.” (Tenney 1981, 152)

This passage is one that should make us all examine our lives and look a little deeper to make sure that we are developing fruit. Because in doing so we honor God, know we live for Jesus and others will know to whom we belong.

Morris, Leon. Jesus is the Christ. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1989.

Spurgeon, Charles H. 2,200 Qutations from the Writings of Charles H. Spurgeon. Edited by Tom Carter. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2005.

Tenney, Merrill C. The Expositor's Bible Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1981.

Towns, Elmer. John Believe and Live. Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2002.

The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Jn 15:2.

The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Jn 15:7.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Jesus as God, Man, or the God-man?

Do you fully believe the statement that “Jesus was a man and as such could not also be God.”? I partly agree with that statement Jesus was a man, but long before he ever assumed an earthly body he was God. (Jn 1:1, 14) We know from the accounts of his genealogy in Matthew, along with the records of his birth that he was born of a woman, and she was a virgin. Like other men Jesus had emotions, he felt sorrow when his friend Lazarus died, we are told in John 11:35 “Jesus wept.” Jesus also got hungry (Matt 4:2) and thirsty (Jn 4:7). Lastly while he was on the cross he had a Roman soldier puncture his side and spill the blood from his heart sac (Jn 19:34).

As for Jesus’ deity he had it affirmed by multiple sources. On two occasions the Father spoke from heaven, once after the transfiguration (Mark 9:7) and Jesus’ baptism (Lk 3:22), on each occasion he refers to Jesus as His “beloved Son.” Jesus forgave sin, since God is only capable of forgiving sin it points to Jesus deity. He also taught people to pray to him, Mark Driscoll in his book Vintage Jesus says, “If Jesus is not God who does not live forever and is not all –knowing or powerful enough to answer our prayers, then he is nothing more than a cruel sadist for asking us to pray to him in faith.” (Driscoll and Breshears, Vintage Jesus 2007, 25)

Now one of the hardest things for our finite minds to comprehend is how Jesus could be both God and man which has become known as the hypostatic union. People have been challenged by this for centuries but the Council of Chalcedon agreed that “ Thus the two natures (physis), consubstantial (homoousios) with the Godhead in Christ’s divine nature and consubstantial (homoousious) with us as the his human nature, were coalesced in one person (prosopon).” (Elwell 1984,2001, 219) Since God is capable of doing anything when he became incarnate “in flesh” he chose to lay aside some of his divine attributes, the best explanation of this is in Philippians 2:5-11. In his book Doctrine, Mark Driscoll says, “By saying that Jesus “made himself nothing,” Paul means that Jesus set aside his rights as God and the rightful continual use of his divine attributes, with the occasional exception such as forgiving sin…. This does not mean that Jesus in any way ceased to be fully God, but rather he chose not continually avail himself to his divine rights and attributes while on the earth.” (Driscoll and Breshears, Doctrine: What Christians Should Believe 2010, 231-32)

When Jesus was born he became the only ever God-man, so by him still being God he’s fully capable of forgiving our sins, and by being man he is able to understand being tempted yet without sin (Heb 4:15). Jesus needed to become incarnate because the wrath of God can only be satisfied by blood. In the Old Testament the priest would offer a lamb for the sins of the people, but He being Jesus is the ultimate sacrifice, and the great high priest making the intercession on our behalf. As believers in the Lord Jesus Christ we must be very careful not to down play his deity when talk about him with anyone; in doing so we no longer show him as an all mighty God, but make him into a really moral man. If we over emphasize his deity then he is no longer a personal God who we can have a relationship with because he doesn’t understand or care about our concerns.

One of the largest objections I have ever heard had to be from a Muslim Imam, saying that “there was no way that Jesus could be God because God cannot die.” There are several heretical followings concerning the deity/humanity of Christ or the lack there of. One of which is the Jehovah’s Witness movement that says Jesus is not co-eternal with the Father, but the first of all creation. They also feel that the debt Christ paid removes our original sin but we must work to earn our own salvation. The best response that I can have to these points of view is that Jesus is the Word (John 1:1) and that when he went to the cross he paid the price for me and there is nothing I can do to earn my salvation (Eph 2:8-10).

Christ in his humanity is a great example because he allows me to understand that just as he relied upon the Holy Spirit to accomplish things in his life I must do so as well. Jesus prayed continually for strength and encouragement, and if Him being God prays fervently why should I do any less?

Word Count: 800


Driscoll, Mark, and Gerry Breshears. Doctrine: What Christians Should Believe. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2010.

—. Vintage Jesus. Wheaton,IL: Crossway Books, 2007.

Elwell, Water A., ed. Evangelical Dictionary of Theology. Grand Rapids,MI: BakerAcademic, 1984,2001.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Do You Really Believe That?


Well, I am glad you asked me what it means that the Bible is authoritative. For me to best answer that question we have to look at its root. What does it mean for anything in our lives to be authoritative? states it this way “having due authority; having the sanction or weight of authority: an authoritative opinion.”[1] To my simple understanding I accept the Bible as authoritative because it has something to say on every aspect of my life, no matter if it is dealing with my children, loving my wife, being a good steward, it literally covers everything. On the matter of the authority of Scripture, Mark Driscoll states it best in his book Doctrine, “Nothing judges Scripture. It judges everything else. As followers of Jesus, we take the stance he did and receive the Bible alone as infallible, inerrant truth from God with full authority in our lives.” (Driscoll and Breshears 2010,67)

Authority can only come from two places, it can be bestowed (given by someone) or its inherent (comes from within). According to the Baker EDT “ Because the Bible points beyond itself to God, it has conferred authority. Yet the Bible has a real authority in itself as the authentic embodiment of God’s self-disclosure.” (Elwell 1984,2001, 153) In knowing that the Bible points to God and is the disclosure of himself, it assures me that Scripture is the primary way I can get to know Him. One of the most common references to prove this point is 2 Timothy 3:16-17 which reads, “ All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” [2] Inspiration is one thing that we cannot take lightly, because if we take the inspiration of the Bible lightly then we lie to ourselves and allow the outside chance that somewhere in human history Jehovah made a mistake. Mark Driscoll says it like this “The affirmation of the truthfulness of the Bible is inextricably tied the character of God himself. God is a truthful God who does not lie. Therefore, because God is ultimately the author of Scripture, it is perfect, unlike every other uninspired writing or utterance.” (Driscoll and Breshears 2010, 58)

I personally like to follow the biblical view of inerrancy, which basically says that the greatest belief in an infallible Bible can be found in the testimony of Scripture itself. I think I have already established a pretty strong case for the Bible being given to us by God himself. In reference to the very word of God, Jesus tells us in Matt 5:17-20 that not an iota will pass away before the Law is fulfilled (my paraphrase). One of the weaker arguments is the Epistemological argument, basically says that it must be beyond doubt and question or its just is not good enough. For me the slippery slope argument is a little bit stronger because I can reference people I have watched disavow the inerrancy of Scripture and then everything else slowly became corrupted.

One of the most common objections to the Biblical Argument is that nowhere in Scripture does it say that the Bible is inerrant. Bakers EDT tells us, “While it is true that no verse says explicitly that Scripture is inerrant, biblical inerrancy is implied by or follows from a number of things the Bible does teach explicitly.” (Elwell 1984,2001, 159) Also, some may object saying that the bible was written by men. And to them I would have to answer was it not given to these men from God first. Please do not emphasize only the human without giving proper credit to God for the largest best-seller of all time.

In knowing that the Bible is my highest authority, that was inspired by God (2 Tim3:16-17), and produced without any error, I shall live my life according to its words and wisdom to bring more glory to God. I can trust this book more than I can trust my own mind which can lead me astray, his word will never guide me in the wrong direction.

It’s been a pleasure talking with you, and if you have anymore questions please feel free to give me a call.



Driscoll, Mark, and Gerry Breshears. Doctrine: What Christians Should Believe. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2010.

Elwell, Water A., ed. Evangelical Dictionary of Theology. Grand Rapids,MI: BakerAcademic, 1984,2001.

[1] authoritative. Unabridged. Random House, Inc. (accessed: September 04, 2010).

New American Standard Bible : 1995 Update (LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995), 2 Ti 3:16–17.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Life’s a …

Life is a collection of choices. So in the end life is what you chose to make of it. Looking at the title for this blog we can let our minds race in so many directions, i know for a moment mine did. I have read in more than one book that the person we are today is because of the choices we have chosen to make over the last five years. As I look back I have made some MAJOR life decisions in the last five years, I have started and left my own business, gotten married to a woman whom I love (even though we drive each other nuts), I have had three photography jobs ( 2 i really didn't mind; the other you couldn’t pay me enough to go back to), I have a son who will be turning 2 on Tuesday. I am also finishing my BA in Religion so I can go to seminary.

So all of this to say that i have really made some drastic changes to my life over the last five years. I have had my fare share of ups and downs in my Christian walk, but I think I’m on the up swing again right now. I have begun reading my Bible again because i want to not because i have to ( i had slowed down because of all my course work and schedules), i pray a lot of short quick prayers ( hoping to get back to longer more intimate ones). I love the word of God and telling people about it, and Him. I only hope to be a man whom other men would want to be like, one who looks like Jesus.

I hope to continually work to unify the body of Christ. I look out upon my future knowing only this My Life Is… to be use to preach Christ crucified.

Live Long, Pray Hard, Die Well !


Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father’s Day 2010

It has been a very nice day overall. I got two very nice cards today, one from the boys and one from Lory. I have been stressed out a little bit lately but its worth it. Working toward my degree is reminding me how much school can drive me nuts. I am so proud of Lory, she has started driving further than she has in years, and has been doing great in school (even if she doesn’t think so). Within the last two weeks we have built a play set that was annoying but the kids love it. Dug and installed the underground fence, just have to make a few tweaks  and then hopefully we can let Joy run free. Poor Richard was diagnosed with pneumonia two weeks ago, thought he was better and we found out it has actually gotten worse. I have to say the Lord is good even when we don’t expect or deserve it. I have grown to enjoy and look forward to going to the men’s group full of outdoors men. I know the Lord is doing some great things in my life even though we are having some rough times.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Do You Know the Time?

How many of us with children have left them with a babysitter? One of the first questions they ask is “when do you plan on coming back?” Well in the main part of the text Christ is talking about his return. He is explaining to his disciples that when he returns he will separate the good from the bad. In (Matt 24:45-47) Christ describes the good servant the one who is doing the will of his master while he is gone expecting him to return at any moment. Then in (Matt 24:48-51) he depicts the evil servant who after presuming that the master is not returning begins beating his fellow servants and living a life of drunkenness, and the master returns and we are told he will “cut him in pieces and put him with the hypocrites.”(v 51a) The rest of our reference scripture is about the parable of ten virgins waiting on the bride groom. Christ in this parable is speaking about himself and his return. Jesus is the bridegroom and the virgins are believers. The main difference he makes is that some will be wise and others will be foolish. The wise will bring enough oil for their lamps since they do not know when the groom will come. Now the foolish not having enough oil want to borrow from the wise, but the wise are unwilling to share because they would then run out and be unable to make it to the one calling for them. We can look at the oil in the story as our faith, while we live our lives waiting on the Lord’s return some will run out of faith while others live out theirs. Those who run out are going to ask to live off of those who have, to no avail.

Well in summarizing the story that follows the parable of the ten virgins, is that of the talents (Matt 25:14-30). We are not used to the phrase talent as they were in ancient times, to them a talent was a measure of money not a simple coin but a great sum (depending on the metal could be up to 20 years wages). The man refers to Christ who has given talents (skills and abilities) to his church, and he will return to find who has used them wisely. To those who have used them wisely he will give more and to the one who does not he takes away what they did have and cast them out (one commentary says to be exposed as hypocrites and destroyed v.30). As for the story that comes before our selected text that gets a little tricky because we start in the middle of one story. So for our purposes I will go just beyond the beginning of that story (Matt 24:36-42). This text starts out referring to the days of Noah and the pending judgment of God. Again these people were leading lives displeasing to God. So by the Lord telling Noah to build an ark, was warning the world he was going to unleash devastation. However since it took so long for Noah to build the ark people thought he was plain old crazy, until the world was flooded. All because no one would listen to the warnings and trust that he was going to do what He promised.

When I look at all of these stories with a more critical eye I am able to see several lines of connection and distinction. The overarching theme is to be prepared for the return of the Lord, because we do not know when he will come again. Upon his arrival we should be found as “good and faithful servants”. Then there are some areas of contrast between the wise servants and the evil, the prepared and unprepared virgins, and the faithful and unfaithful use of talents. They all correlate to either being wise or foolish. I write this hoping the Lord finds us all about his work in a wise manner.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

How Far Are You Willing to Go?

When considering this assignment I knew almost immediately the “Hero” I most related to, was Jonathan. Jonathan was a curious young man, who was loyal to a fault at times. According to some of today’s standards Jonathan would be a fool. Primarily because he became best of friends with the man who would take the throne from his father, ending his families reign. He chose not care about being king, instead he chose to care more about his friend “As soon as he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. 2 And Saul took him that day and would not let him return to his father’s house. 3 Then Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul. 4 And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was on him and gave it to David, and his armor, and even his sword and his bow and his belt.” [1] This was a young man who allowed God to lead him knowing that the will of God was for David to be the next king. He willing gave up everything from his chance to rule all the way down to the clothes on his back. Another great thing about Jonathan was that he was willing to put his life on the line against his own father, knowing that Saul was out to kill David. He never turned his back on his friend, nor did he leave his home and his allegiance to his father. To some his loyalty may have been a weakness in my opinion it was a great strength.

In many ways I feel like I have been a Jonathan with two David’s in my life. I have called both of them my brothers and have given each of them the shirt off of my back literally. They each hold a special place in my life, one I have known since before my conversion to Christianity and the other helped lead me to Christ. Wendall and I go back to our teenage years; we did all most all of our dirt together. It is hard for either one of us to start a story from that era without mentioning the others name. I can recall a time when he and his girlfriend were having some issues with his ex and her family. We hoped in the car, while keeping an eye on his girlfriend while she was trying to leave her house. We were spotted by a family member and chased through one of the worst neighborhoods in the area. We would have gotten away except we got pinned in on a one way street, and the family members came up on us with weapons making threats. Now “B” and I were business partners. He helped lead me to the Lord. I was around for him when he needed someone on several occasions. I gave material possessions, a place to live when he moved back here from Atlanta. After awhile I began to surpass him spiritually and became an advisor to him. That was until he chose to reject my influence and walk a path I knew all too well, of alcohol dependence and self reliance. He ended our friendship on a sour note, but has since repented of his sins and recommitted to the Lord. After he turned his life back around he told me he can now see all I ever tried to do was love him according to Scripture.

In Courageous Faith, Dr. Hindson says “People need people. That’s what life is all about. God created us with a desire for personal relationships. Instead of avoiding people, we all need to learn how to reach out to people. Our words of encouragement, acts of kindness, and attitudes of acceptance communicate to people that we care about them.”(pg 175) I think we all have at least a little bit of Jonathan in us all. We can allow that to grow and become a stronger characteristic in our lives by stepping out of our comfort zones and living in someone else’s life. So how far are you willing to go to love someone else? Are you willing to deny what could or should be rightly yours to allow someone else the chance to live according to God’s will or are you going to fight it tooth and nail? Jonathan gave in and allowed God’s will to prevail which allowed us to have prophecy fulfilled that Messiah would come from the house of David, and sit on the throne forever.

[1]The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (1 Sa 18:1-4). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Living According to the Spirit

This entry is based on a paper i did for my NT survey class and the section of Scripture referenced was Galatians 5:16-18.

The book of Galatians was written by the Apostle Paul to the churches in Galatia, but we are not exactly which part of the country. Now most of the commentaries I have read lean more toward the southern portions of the country because he spoke to them in such a direct manner, as though he had spent generous amounts of time with them, which could have taken place while he was on his mission trips.

Since accepting the gospel of Jesus Christ you are free from the bondage of the Law. Do not abuse your freedom as a chance to sin more, but as a reason to love all the more accordingly to the great commandment. If we live in a manner according to the Spirit we will not gratify our fleshly desires. Keep in mind that the desires of the flesh and of the Spirit have no room for one another. So in being led by the Spirit we are no longer under the Law. Make sure to pay close attention to those around you because the works of their flesh are evident. You will also know those in whom the Spirit dwells because you will see their fruit. So live in the Spirit and you will not give into sin, remember that the Spirit and the flesh cannot occupy the same space, knowing that being led by the Spirit frees you from the Law.

Now the audience that Paul was writing to was a church that he had planted. While he was away however another group of preachers came around preaching another gospel. The gospel these men were preaching was a gospel of Jesus plus circumcision. These men were often called Judaizers. This same sect was also trying to challenge the authority of Paul’s Apostleship. Hopefully for all of us we do not rely on works to grant us salvation or have someone preaching it to us. We can also trust that Scripture is true and that Paul was an Apostle.

We should walk according to the Spirit and in doing so we will not gratify the desires of the flesh. And we are no longer bound by the Law but free in the Spirit.

Now to bring this all home let’s see what this will look like in our lives. I will use myself as an example, when I was younger I was an addict. I was addicted to alcohol, nicotine, marijuana, and pornography. Since my conversion I have not had major struggles with all of these things but there have been some more than others. I have been able to combat these struggles not of my own accord but in trusting the Lord and spending time in His word and with Him. The closer I get to Him the further I get from my sinful desires. One of my favorite groups is Pillar and they have a song called “Further from Myself” which falls in line with what we are talking about.

A way we can look at being free from the Law is to look at the food customs when Peter was told that what God declares clean is clean.(Acts 10:11-15) So Jews today still hold to Kosher products refusing to eat pork and certain kinds of meat, seafood, and etc. By us being set free from the Law we are no longer accountable to the Law. So go have a some good food and thank the Lord he has set you free to eat it.

Monday, April 5, 2010

You Want Me To Do What ?!?

The Lord in his good and perfect grace saved me in August 2002. It was around six months after my conversion that I felt the Lord put a call on my life to minister his word. Just like Moses I felt like “God you have got the wrong man.” Remember God met Moses at the burning bush in Exodus 3 & 4 informing Moses of the task at hand. All Moses wanted to do was come up with reasons why he could not do them. Moses got to speak with Jehovah through a bush, as for me He actually showed me in dreams what I was supposed to do. Due to the circumstances surrounding my life I constantly feel like a failure, or feel like I am inadequate to accomplish any goal. In my life whether at work or at church I am the outsider and very rarely listened to because I feel they think I lack authority. Just as Moses felt like an outsider while in Egypt, he was a Jew raised in the palace. He was never treated like any other Jew, by either side.

I think I get looked at like a child especially in my church because my education is not up to par with others in my community or life stage. However Moses did not have that problem because he was raised in the palace of the Pharaoh, and he was highly educated. I have offered before to lead a small group or to help assist or even teach a Sunday school class, but I have never received a second look from my leadership. So this makes me feel extremely insecure, like” Okay Lord did I hear you correctly.” The only thing that keeps me going to pursue my dream and goal in spite of everything is trusting that the Lord is in control. “And I am the God who made you with your limitation. I want to use you despite your limitation so that you will bring glory to Me.” (CF pg 67) My hearts cry is to bring glory to Jesus with all that I do in my life! In starting these classes I pray that he will be glorified in my work .My biggest fear is that I will screw up. I have been saying for so long how I feel called to His work, and here is my chance to show people that this is what I was made to do. I pray I don’t screw up and ruin the testimony of Jesus Christ.IMG_3740 copy

Right now at this stage of my life I am travelling in the wilderness. I have been out of work for close to two months now, just started attending school, while living in my mothers’ house with my family. On top of everything I live my life day to day feeling like I have few friends, no money, and unfit to be alive some days. But there is comfort in knowing that the Lord has made the promise “For the Lord your God is a merciful God. He will not leave you or destroy you or forget the covenant with your fathers that he swore to them.” (Deut 4:31 ESV) So trusting that the word of the Lord is true I know that where I am right now is not where he is going to leave me. Because “Despite all the difficulties, it was there in the wilderness that God’s greatest blessings came” (CF pg 72) And holding fast to the words of Romans 8:28 “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”[1] So just like Moses I hope to lead God’s people well, remain in his presence and always pursue His will. May we all be like Christ in the garden in praying “And he said “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”[2]

[1]The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ro 8:28). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

[2]The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Mk 14:36). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

Courageous Faith : Dr Ed Hindson

Monday, March 8, 2010

Street Light Along the Way

Life brings its own far share of challenges, for some it may be dealing with the loss of a loved one, another an addiction. For me it is my tendency to be prideful and want to think of myself more highly than I ought. Tonight I was with a group of men who on most accounts are completely different then me. These men are older with kids that are older and they are outdoors men, meaning in their spare time they hunt or fish. As I sat in the living room with these men we watched videos of deer hunting, then we shared in a brief message> As the host lead us in our study I was going in my mind that is nowhere near how I would go about this. What I mean by that is some of the references this man chose I did not see where he was tying everything together, but it doesn’t mean he was wrong.

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be competent, equipped  for every good work.” (2 Tim 3:16-17 ESV)

The Lord showed me not to long ago that he speaks to us all in different ways. And maybe just maybe the way he spoke to these men this evening was through that simple discussion. Those of you who know me know that I am a theology junky, so this conversation was a little on the light side. I have decided however to continue with this group of men for a while, so that I may expand my horizons and be more effective in my own ministry one day. 

Another way to look at life is to think about walking even through your own house in the middle of the night while its pitch black. If you have no way of seeing what could hurt you how do you avoid it? In the life of a Christian we have his word.

“Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light to my path.” (PS 119:105 ESV)

”Jesus answered,  “Are there not twelve hours in the day?  If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world.” (Jn 11:9 ESV)

So if you are walking around feeling as though you are in a fog, out of place, or don’t belong. Look closer there may be more than what you see. In this group I was in the greatest common factor was we all are Christian men. So for me I know my life was a huge unclear, dazed and confused mess. After accepting Jesus for who he is not for what I wanted him to be my life came into focus. Because I left my world of darkness behind and started walking in light. “Again Jesus spoke to them, saying,  “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (Jn 8:12 ESV)

I am not making any claims or promises that life will be easy, easier yes because you can live with a confidence in something bigger than yourself. You may still stumble and fall but not because you couldn’t see, but because your human and will make mistakes. (Rom 3:23) Please know that it is so much more comfortable knowing how to walk and what to avoid then running into everything that gets in the way.

The first step is to chose the Light. Jesus Christ.

Live Long, Pray Hard, Die Well !