Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Gen. 33:16-20 God is glorified

16 So Esau returned that day on his way unto Seir.
17 And Jacob journeyed to Succoth, and built him an house, and made booths for his cattle: therefore the name of the place is called Succoth.
18 And Jacob came to Shalem, a city of Shechem, which is in the land of Canaan, when he came from Padanaram; and pitched his tent before the city.
19 And he bought a parcel of a field, where he had spread his tent, at the hand of the children of Hamor, Shechem's father, for an hundred pieces of money.
20 And he erected there an altar, and called it Elelohe-Israel.

     And so ends the meeting of the brothers, they parted ways in peace and that only by the grace of God.  Jacob resides in Shalem which is a city in the valley of Shechem (which is believed to be Neapolis, about 34 miles north of Jerusalem).  There he publicly acknowledges God by erecting an altar and honoring God by dedicating it and calling it God, the God of Israel.  God gave Jacob a new and prominent name, Israel (prince with God).  And yet, Jacob recognizes God as Sovereign even in his new name.  God gets all the glory.  Jacob may be a prince, a favored and privileged son, yet he doesn’t fail to return the glory to the one and only true God, the God of Israel.  If ever there be any praise or thanksgiving in us, it is there because of God’s favor and we should be very careful to lift God up in our hearts all the time.  Let us never be convinced that we are special in and of our own selves.  Let us erect our altars of thanksgiving and praise today, to the glory of God.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Mark 7:24-30 Keys to answered prayer

24 And from thence he arose, and went into the borders of Tyre and Sidon, and entered  into an house, and would have no man know it: but he could not be hid.
25 For a certain woman, whose young daughter had an unclean spirit, heard of him, and came and fell at his feet:
26  The woman was a Greek, a Syrophenician by nation; and she besought him that he would cast forth the devil out of her daughter.
27 But Jesus said unto her, Let the children first be filled: for it is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it unto the dogs.
28 And she answered and said unto him, Yes, Lord: yet the dogs under the table eat of the children's crumbs.
29 And he said unto her, For this saying go thy way; the devil is gone out of thy daughter.
30 And when she was come to her house, she found the devil gone out, and her daughter laid upon the bed.

     Jesus retires a bit from ministry and obviously it isn’t wrong to do that.  However, a certain woman, we do not know her name but we do know that she was a Gentile and we know of her sad situation.  She had a daughter that was demon possessed.  Apparently, she had heard of the great miracles of the Lord Jesus Christ.  She was convinced that if any man could help it could only be the Lord.  In Matthew’s account the disciples wanted to send her away (Matt. 15:23-24).  The conversation between the Lord and the Gentile mother is a good example of what genuine prayer is like.  In v. 27, the word of the Lord served as a guide and a basis for her petition.  She overcame bitterness, resentment, uncontrolled anger, racial tension, and humiliation; attitudes that would easily beset any of us.  She accepted the word of the Lord and with great faith acknowledged her Lord, and added a most revealing point: “yet the dogs under the table eat of the children’s crumbs.”  If all she can have are the crumbs, then the crumbs are enough to deliver her daughter from the Devil’s grip.  The Lord answered her prayer.  He didn’t even have to lay his blessed hands upon the girl.  Geography is not a factor when God answers prayers.  And so we are richer in faith and prayer because the Lord retired from ministry, or did He really?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Gen. 33:5-15 - God is gracious

5 And he lifted up his eyes, and saw the women and the children; and said, Who are those with thee? And he said, The children which God hath graciously given thy servant.
6 Then the handmaidens came near, they and their children, and they bowed themselves.
7 And Leah also with her children came near, and bowed themselves: and after came Joseph near and Rachel, and they bowed themselves.
8 And he said, What meanest thou by all this drove which I met? And he said, These are to find grace in the sight of my lord.
9 And Esau said, I have enough, my brother; keep that thou hast unto thyself.
10 And Jacob said, Nay, I pray thee, if now I have found grace in thy sight, then receive my present at my hand: for therefore I have seen thy face, as though I had seen the face of God, and thou wast pleased with me.
11 Take, I pray thee, my blessing that is brought to thee; because God hath dealt graciously with me, and because I have enough. And he urged him, and he took it.
12 And he said, Let us take our journey, and let us go, and I will go before thee.
13 And he said unto him, My lord knoweth that the children are tender, and the flocks and herds with young are with me: and if men should overdrive them one day, all the flock will die.
14 Let my lord, I pray thee, pass over before his servant: and I will lead on softly, according as the cattle that goeth before me and the children be able to endure, until I come unto my lord unto Seir.
15 And Esau said, Let me now leave with thee some of the folk that are with me. And he said, What needeth it? let me find grace in the sight of my lord.

Here is a conversation between brothers.  Nothing ill from the past is brought up, and nothing should.  You can’t do anything with the past.  What we see in v. 11 is that Jacob acknowledges the source of all his blessings, i.e. God.  “God hath dealt graciously with me.”  Indeed all our success is directly given to us because of the graciousness of God.  I believe that it was God who gave Jacob favor with Esau, otherwise this meeting would have been nothing short of bloody.  Jacob’s family is from God (v. 5; 48:4; Ps.127:3;).  Jacob’s wealth is from God (Deut. 8:18; Pro.10:22; Hos. 2:8).  Jacob’s protection is from God, in v. 15 he declined the security that Esau offered (Ps. 20:17; Ps. 33:17; Isa. 31:1).  This section of Scripture magnifies God’s graciousness in several practical ways.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Pre-event buzz: DfNB

Disciplines for New Believers (Kindle edition) has been a part of Amazon's KDP Select program (of which my kdp select program is set to expire on March 09), which enables Amazon Prime Members to download the book for free, and allows for Kindle readers to borrow it free with no due date (as part of their lending library).  DfNB Kindle edition can still be purchased like usual for $4.00, but starting tomorrow it will be FREE for the next five days.

Also, along with that development, Starr Publications is offering the actual book format of DfNB at a bulk special (10 for $45.00).  You can click on the Starr Publications link here, and click on the "Specials" tab (located on the left) and there it is called "Bundle #1."

What exactly is my book about?  It is an eight week discipleship booklet designed for new converts to train them in daily thinking about rudimentary Scriptural principles and relevant topics at the same time introducing them to basic Baptist doctrines, and basic Bible study tools.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The evil within (Mark 7:23)

All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.” (Mark 7:23)

When the Lord Jesus looks into our hearts, here is exactly what He sees:

1.        Evil thoughts
2.       Adulteries
3.       Fornications
4.       Murders
5.       Thefts
6.       Covetousness
7.       Wickedness
8.       Deceit
9.       Lasciviousness
10.   An evil eye
11.   Blasphemy
12.   Pride
13.   Foolishness

In v. 23 He said “all these evil things come from within,” earlier in v. 21 he mentions “from within, out of the heart of men” that clearly means that the source of our sin is our heart.  The Lord goes directly to the heart of the matter.  These thirteen items (which gives a seemingly endless effect) all stem from the one singular source, i.e. the heart.  Matthew’s list is similar but shorter, and contains “false witness” (Matt. 15:19).  What an amazing expose of the human heart.  This is the reason why we need to be born again, why we need God to produce in us a new heart (Ezek. 18:31; 36:26).  And then, as born again believers we must ever be so vigilant to guard our heart (Pro. 4:23).  Praise God for His saving and sanctifying work in our lives.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Gen. 33:1-4 Jacob meets with Esau

1 ¶ And Jacob lifted up his eyes, and looked, and, behold, Esau came, and with him four hundred men. And he divided the children unto Leah, and unto Rachel, and unto the two handmaids.
2 And he put the handmaids and their children foremost, and Leah and her children after, and Rachel and Joseph hindermost.
3 And he passed over before them, and bowed himself to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother.
4 And Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck, and kissed him: and they wept.

      This is the happy occasion of the meeting and perhaps reconciliation of two estranged brothers. A wedge was placed between them because of the deceitfulness of Jacob, and the carnality of Esau. Sin destroys relationships. But God still works in the background. Jacob will be instrumental in the fulfillment of the Lord’s protoevangelum in Gen. 3:15, and therefore will go on to prosperity despite his fears. Esau will never gain God’s favor because of sin, which was his own particular choice (Heb. 12:15-17). But nevertheless God works in a way that “he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him” (Pro. 16:7). Jacob’s fears, rather than debilitate him, propelled him to seek God’s blessings in prayer (Gen. 32:24-32). And certainly God gave him favor with Esau in what could have been a very bad and bloody meeting.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Gospel tracts

Here are some gospel tracts that I have come across that I really like.

1.  God's Bridge to Eternal Life:

I like this one for several reasons:  The message of Salvation is clear.  The visual images capture the eye and help the mind to process what the Bible is saying.  This tract can be ordered at 586-725-5800.  Unfortunately, you will need to ask for the KJV edition since they have this tract using NASB.

2.  This Was Your Life:
 Who hasn't read a "Chick Publications" tract?  This one is an absolute classic.  Very thought provoking. I don't care much for other Chick tracts, sometimes they go over-board and make light of serious things, but "This Was Your Life" is excellent.  Order this (and don't worry they are KJV only, amen!) at 909-987-0771.

3.  Select verses from the Holy Bible:

This gospel tract is amazing because it writes complete Bible verses out.  While the tract is not as visually stimulating (older graphics), the truths presented are powerful.  This one is perhaps my most favorite of all.  Contact TractsByLyons at 972-495-5346.  Evangelist Jim Lyons wrote this tract.

4. What Must I Do to be Saved?:

This one is a transcribed message from the late Evangelist Dr. John R. Rice.  Dr. Rice was a gifted speaker and writer.  He clearly presents the gospel in this small booklet.  This tract can be ordered at 1-800-247-9673.

There are many other tracts that I could have mentioned, but these are what comes to mind at this time.  Besides handing out gospel tracts, our church invests in gospel CDs.  Some of Pastor Starr's messages or other guest speakers as well, are produced in a CD format to give to people so that they can hear the gospel message of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Perhaps you have a gospel tract recommendation, I would like to hear about that.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Twitter thoughts

     I like it.  I like to read about how people are doing, where they are going, or just plainly what's happening with them.  I certainly like the brevity of info presented in each tweet.  I like reading about some of their Scriptural thoughts, Bible verses that grad them so strongly that they need to share it with their followers.  It is sorta like a Twitter-devotional (a "Tweetvotional").  I liked following products and companies of interest (even though so many of them rarely connected with me as a person, they perceived me more as a consumer or a customer, and that got a bit irritating, and so I withdrew my "following" from nearly all business types - I think I will remain static on this aspect of Twittering until I am treated like a person rather than a consumer, or if a really good deal happens to pop up...ha!).  I like the concept of retweeting tweets of interest.  I like its simplicity and ease of use.  I like that I can connect with people near and far.  Cyberspace "shrinks" as it continues to "grow."  I like rapid responses, that is pretty neat.  I liked listening to the presidential debates and at the same time checking live-Tweets from political analysts at the same time...the same could be said when I get to watch a football game, I could watch a game and get live updates via Twitter from both teams or their followers.
     Now, what I don't like.  I don't like irrelevant and un-updated Twitter pages, that gets irritating.  You don't know if you should follow or not because you don't want to miss out on what they have to Tweet about - but when you look them up, they haven't tweeted for months.  Therefore, I decided that if a fellow Twitterer hasn't tweeted for at least three months, then it is safe to unfollow, and check back on them about three months later.  I don't like spam, not the edible kind (that one is good especially fried).  Some present themselves as followers but they are clearly robots.  I don't like insufferable and insolent over-twitterers.  They just take Twitter to another level.  When a person gets that way, they really need to consider blogging or "facebook-ing" instead.
     Having said all that, I will continue to use Twitter, and encourage others to give it a try.