Interested in Prophecy

There is a lot of focus on the prophetic scriptures these days.  Movies, books, TV programs, pastors, and churches everywhere seem to want a piece of the action.  The problem is not what the scripture says – but how it is interpreted.  The basic definition of the word prophecy is a prediction of future events, not just end time events. The ultimate test of a prophet is if his prophecies come true.  However, if the prophetic information is to be useful, it is necessary to believe it before it comes true.

Over the centuries various doctrines concerning end-time events have been adopted by different religious groups.  Each scholar convinced his interpretation is correct. Many have spent their lifetime searching for clues as to when time will come to an end.  They worry it will take them by surprise and they will not be ready.           NewsFlash!  “The end of time will come  in your lifetime!”

No matter who you are, what century you live in or what you believe when the breath leaves your body ready or not your time has ended.

 

Who are you following?

Who are you following?  Who are you listening to? Who do you go to for answers to spiritual questions?  Who are you trying to please? If you answer truthfully you will know who you are following.

I don’t want to offend anyone but Jesus Christ (Yeshua) is no longer on earth, and if you are taking directions from man you may wind up in the swamp. Christ was perfect ,no sin was found in Him, He is our example.   Where did we get the idea that as believers we needed man to guide us?  God has provided all the instruction required to live a godly life.  His Word and His Spirit.  The Word is a lamp unto your feet, ( Psalms 119:5) and His spirit will guide you into all truth (John 16:13).

The WCE reports there are over 30,000 different Protestant Dominations today.  This number is disputed by many for various reasons. However, anything over one is too many.  The World Christian Encyclopedia by Barrett,  defines “denomination” as:

An organized aggregate of worship centers or congregations of similar ecclesiastical tradition within a specific country … whose component congregations and members are called by the same denominational name in different areas, regarding themselves as one autonomous Christian church distinct from other denominations, churches, and traditions.

Scripture bears out the fact there is one body, one spirit, one Lord, one faith and one God. (Eph 4:4-6) So why are there so many different denominations?  Could it be because each denomination has been formed by and is lead by man, embracing doctrines derived from their personal interpretation of scripture? This is not to say all Christian leaders are in error.  There are faithful people in all denominations. However, do you want to base your spiritual life on the understanding of natural man? God does not accept excuses for ignorance of His word.  You are responsible for your walk with God based on the Holy Spirit’s interpretation of scripture to you personally.

I’m not saying that membership in local fellowships are wrong they can and should be very encouraging and supportive of one another.  It is when the individual believer lays aside the Bible and follows the instructions of the groups’ leaders alone that problems ensue.  You are an individual; God deals with you as an individual, only God can lead you in the path He created for you.

This article is intended for believers only – especially new believers.  The only access the unbeliever has to the Holy Spirit is when the Spirit convicts him of sin and his need of salvation.  When an unbeliever accepts the witness of the Holy Spirit and accepts the vicarious sacrifice of Jesus Christ on his behalf, the Spirit takes up residence in the body of that individual and will guide you into all truth. Who are you following?

I know I need to study scripture but it just doesn’t make any sense to me.

“Through a diligent study of God’s Word, under the guidance of His Spirit, you’ll drop a strong anchor that will hold in the storms of life.  You will know your God.  And when you know your God, not only will you be strong, but you will do great exploits for Him.”        Daniel 11:32           ~ Kay Arthur

Many times believers give up on studying their Bible citing an inability to comprehend the message of scripture.  This can lead to the belief that something is wrong with them spiritually.  This is not at all true.  Studding  scripture is a lifelong process. It’s not possible for the human mind to comprehend the truths of scripture all at once.  It’s a process and must take place over a period of time – precept upon precept.

“For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:”  Isaiah 28:10 (KJV)

While acquired knowledge of the Bible is an ongoing process, there are various study methods that have been developed to improve and enhance comprehension.  Years ago I visited the campus of Precepts International in Chattanooga, Tennessee. While there I learned the Inductive Bible Study method. Using the tools of Inductive study,  opened up the Word of God and completely changed the way I view scripture.

Inductive study doesn’t tell you what the Bible means or what you should believe.  Instead, it teaches you a method of studying that can be applied to any portion of Scripture at any time for the rest of your life.  It’s not difficult and can keep you out of the swamp.

If you long to know God and the truths of His Word, you must do more than merely read the Bible or accept what someone else has said about it.  You must interact with God’s Word personally, absorbing its message and letting God engrave His truth on your heart and mind and life.  That is the very heart of inductive study: seeing the truth for yourself, discerning what it means, and applying that truth to your life.

For more information on the Inductive study method get Kay Arthur’s Book on how to study your Bible. Available on Amazon through the link below.

How to Study Your Bible

I’m not a Jew so what’s with this ‘Holy Sabbath?’

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of the LORD your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” (NAS, Exodus 20:8-11)

There is much that has been said about the Sabbath.  It is the only one of the Ten Commandments not mentioned in the New Testament.  There are those of the opinion that the Sabbath should still be observed on Saturday in the same manner as it was in the Old Testament. However, most observe Sunday as their day of rest.

The Sabbath was a memorial to the Israelites concerning their identity as a people delivered from slavery. It also represented a covenant between God and the Israelites.

And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the LORD thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the LORD thy God commanded thee to keep the Sabbath day. Deut 5:15

The Hebrew word for holy is ‘godesh’ and means ‘set apart’ The Sabbath is also a Hebrew word – its origin is uncertain but most likely is taken from the word sabot which means to stop or cease.  The theological meaning is linked to God’s rest on the 7th day of creation.  Six days he created the earth, and on the seventh, he rested (stopped).  During the weekly Sabbath, the people were to do no work.  It was to be a day of rest.

Seven is a number used in scripture very often.  Some have determined with God it stands for completion.  If you study the many places it has been used – I would be inclined to believe this also.  Seven days in the week, seven years of famine, seven days of unleavened bread, seven days for consecration, seven churches, seven candlesticks, seven seals, seven trumpets, seven feasts, just to mention a few.  Also, there have been six thousand years since creation. There will be a seventh (thousand) called the millennium reign during which the earth will rest from the curse.  After the thousand years are completed the world of today will be destroyed, and a new world created.   Given this interpretation, it would make sense that God set apart the seventh day of creation not only as a day of rest but also to celebrate its completion.

Another observation is that the Sabbath was to be a day of rest, it was not hallowed (set apart) as a day of worship.  Nowhere in scripture was there a certain day set apart only for the worship of God.

In conclusion, Sabbath is a word that implies ‘to cease.’    This day of rest was a sign between God and the Israelites that He, (God) had (sanctified) set them apart from the world.

Scriptures:

Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:   Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.  Colossians 2:16-17                                                            

And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath:   Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath. Mark 2:27-28  

Know What You Believe and Why You Believe it!

What’s so important about studying Scripture?

The ability to skillfully use God’s Word is vital to making sound decisions. Decisions that not only affect you but those who look to you for guidance. God seeks to reveal Himself to his creation through the scriptures.  Both the Old and New Testaments were written by holy men instructed by the Holy Spirit.  It is amazing that a book thousands of years old has been and still is, relevant to all generations.  It contains  God’s plan of redemption and constant guidance to the redeemed.

Over the years, many have struggled with reconciling the teachings of the Old Testament with the new.     God never contradicts himself.  What was true in the Old Testament is still true in the New.   A good method for studying the scriptures is the “analogy of faith.” It is a Reformed Hermeneutical principle which states that, since all scriptures are harmoniously united with no essential contradictions, therefore, every proposed interpretation of any passage must be compared with what the other parts of the Bible teach.

“The New Testament is concealed in the Old, and the Old is revealed in the New”  St. Augustine

God has preserved his message down through thousands of years, many translations, languages, and peoples.  So why aren’t more people interested in studying this personal message from God?  For the same reason, Adam sinned in the garden.  The same reason Christ was crucified.  The same reason the Israelites rebelled against God.  Satan, the enemy of God, has been and still is fighting against God to usurp his power and authority.

It will never be easy to study God’s Word.  It will require commitment, dedication, and perseverance. However as a believer, you will never do anything in this life that is more important.  We are foreigners traveling through a hostile land.  The only reliable compass made available to us is God’s Word.  You can rest assured Satan will do any and everything in his power to keep you from this vital information.

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.  2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV)

Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine(teaching) is not mine, but his that sent me (God).  If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.   Genesis 2:16-17  

 

 

Church just doesn’t work for me anymore.

“Coffee with Jesus.” When I first heard the phrase, it was not especially interesting or motivating for me. It came from a fellow class member in our women’s Sunday school group. She had requested the opportunity to address the class that morning. I had only been a part of the group a few weeks and wasn’t familiar with the lives and struggles of other members.

As I sat there listening, thoughts began swirling around in my mind. Having coffee with Jesus is a unique idea but for what? I could do that at home. I was disenchanted enough with organized religious services.  I had been a believer all my life— —a believer in God, Jesus, church, doing the right thing, and I also possessed a healthy fear of God for not doing the right thing. Church was as much a part of my life as anything I had experienced since I was old enough to remember. I was well schooled in the responsibilities associated with being a church member. I was a faithful, tithing, active member yet something was missing.   I dare say there are many individual Christians sitting in church pews every Sunday feeling empty, and unfulfilled. Why? Is it possible we are misled as to the purpose of assembling ourselves together? Confused as to what purpose church should have in our lives?

Many professing evangelical Christians envision church as a building and a sequence of events that takes place at previously scheduled times throughout the week. A place they go out of habit or duty with little or no input of their own.  The body of Christ is made up of people from all over the world and from all generations. Individuals, God called out from among the population and set aside for his purpose.

The Church is not a place but a body with Christ as the head.  The body is made up of Individuals whom God has gifted and placed in the body as it pleased him.   Each has a specific function, and when all are operating in the place which God designed them for, the body will be healthy and happy if not the body suffers.

Additional problems develop when misguided leadership usurps God’s authority and attempts to designate -or deny- areas of service in the body based on personal perception. Often resulting in a schism in the body as members become confused and frustrated.

For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according to as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:  So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.    Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;  Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;   Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.   Let love be without dissimulation { hypocrisy}. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.   Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another;   Romans 12:3-10

The church should have an environment conducive to the development and implementation of spiritual gifts.  It is through the exercise of personal gifts that members of the body grow and develop spiritually.  The church does not produce growth; it supports the growth of its individual members.

In responding to his call, the believer enters into a personal covenant with God. “Church” was never intended to supersede, overrule, or replace that personal relationship.  Instead, it was intended to support members as they develop that personal relationship.    We have church covenants and bylaws that set forth the rules and regulations to which a potential member must adhere. They also express the doctrines each particular assembly or denomination embraces. Unfortunately, many of these documents are much like the numerous additions to the laws of the Old Testament set forth by the Pharisees in biblical times.

Did you ever wonder why believers in third-world countries are steadfast in their faith enduring torture, imprisonment, martyrdom, and all manner of evil to assemble with other believers? While in fear for their lives, they meet secretly in small groups to worship. I dare say there are no rules, regulations, overseers, or covenants these people are subjected to, yet they risk their lives every day simply because they love God.

What happened to the body of Christ? Why is it so divided? What happened to its power and influence? Why are parts of the body suffering? Why is there competition instead of unity? Could it be the body is not taking its direction from the head?

Know What You Believe and Why You Believe it!

What are you reading?

“Americans revere the Bible but by and large they don’t read it”       George Gallup and Jim Castelli

“Do you agree with Castelli and Gallup?”  In comparison to other discretionary behaviors, how much time do you spend in God’s Word.

Are you able to use the scriptures to substantiate the foundations of your faith? If not why?   Leave a comment concerning your views.

Know What You Believe and Why You Believe it!