Wednesday, January 28, 2009

What I think about when I listen to Way of the Master Radio

A Redneck Seafood Dinner... Yum!






Thursday, January 15, 2009

The God hidden in the book of Esther



I was pondering over what to write about next and decided to go through the hidden mysteries in the Book of Esther. Interestingly, Ester means, “ hidden” which should give us a hint that there is more to this book than just a story.

Some compare the time of this book with what was happening in Nazi Germany as the book revolves around the story of the extermination of the Jews.

Here are some interesting things about the book of Esther:

1. There is no mention of the name of God in the book.
2. There is no reference to worship or faith.
3. There is no mention or prediction of the Messiah.
4. There is no mention of heaven or hell.
5. There is nothing "religious" about it.


Even Martin Luther believed it should not be part of the Canon.


The name Esther gives us a clue: it means "Something Hidden"! And if one digs deeper into the story one will actually find that though no mention is there of these things… their imprint is through out the book itself.


The story can be taken in view of flesh against Spirit. Much as the story of Esau and Jacob was the story of flesh against Spirit. In fact Haman was a descendant of Esau, as Esau was the father of the Amalekites whom Saul failed to destroy as God commanded him to. This of course was the motivation of Haman who was attempting in proving God wrong when God declared, “… "For hands were lifted up to the throne of the LORD. The LORD will be at war against the Amalekites from generation to generation." LORD will be at war against the Amalekites from generation to generation." (Exodus 17:16)


Though no outright mention of God or The Messiah, here are some interesting prophecies in Esther it seems that God is hidden within the text itself. Throughout the book there is acrostics that spell YHWH. One is found in Chapter 5:4, “"let the king, together with Haman, come today to a banquet I have prepared for him." In that the words in Hebrew broken down all start with the letter YHWH. This also appeared in 5:13; “Yet all this availeth me nothing, so long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king's gate.” In the words “Yet all this availeth me nothing” again we find the acrostic YHWH.


Now personally I do not take things like the Bible Code that seriously yet this does seem to garner my interest a bit.


The story itself is truly amazing, as it is the story of Israel in total surrender to God for deliverance in the person of Esther. In a sense I personally see that as representing the Church now. In a sense a Christians we are to bring salvation to those who God redeemed at the Cross. We are all “Esthers” in that we being the Bride of the King need stand up and be who we are.
For you see that Esther represents the human spirit with it’s fears and desire to hide ourselves and Mordicai represents the Holy Spirit who admonishes Esther with these words:


4:12. When Esther's words were reported to Mordecai, 13. he sent back this answer: "Do not think that because you are in the king's house you alone of all the Jews will escape. 14. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father's family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?"


We have come to a royal position as believers in Christ for such a time like this. We need respond as Esther did in faith:


15. Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: 16. "Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maids will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish."
17. So Mordecai went away and carried out all of Esther's instructions.


When we step out in faith, God will do the work that needs be done.

We can carry this thought out a bit more as Xerxes, would represent the “Christian” and Esther the “human spirit”. Haman is the sin that dwells in us. If we are not careful we like Xerxes can allow sin in unaware, for Xerxes did not even know he signed the death warrant for the Jews. Yet, it is God Himself through the Holy Spirit that can expose this sin we cannot see and as I stated Mordecai represents the Holy Spirit.


All would be lost without the Holy Spirit and though God is not mentioned, the Story is of our own salvation… even to the point that Esther is adopted by Mordicai… for we to as Gentile believers are adopted by God as Esther was adopted by Mordicai.

In the end Haman is hung on a gallows… did you catch that? Haman representing sin is hung on a gallows… as Jesus who became sin for us, was hung on a cross. Sin was out to destroy God’s people and in the end, sin itself is destroyed.


(Much of this information I have gathered over the years. I want to thank those teachers who showed me these things and more, though I wish I could know for sure who you were.)














Tuesday, January 06, 2009

My thoughts on global warming




Coming out of -40 degree windchill factor week I am not so sure that there is global warming... I know some will say that this proves it, yet I am not convinced that if there is global warming that it is man made or can be blamed on cattle and sheep.

OK… this is how silly this all is… Some are actually suggesting taxing farmers if they have over 100 cattle or sheep because they fart… errr I mean their flatulence add to global warming. How stupid is all this getting? And BTW I do mean the cows not the farmers though I am sure they do also.

Actually the Global Warming is soooooo yesterday…. now many scientist believe we are entering an ice age.
Back in the 70’s they stated we were going into an ice age and if one looks at the record lows since August the trend is lower than normal temps.
I believe the earth has cycles… dry years/ wet years… warm years/cold years…. I think that most of the hubbub about losing the arctic ice is the fault of volcanic activity and has nothing to do with man…

It seems Yellowstone Park is getting ready to give a big belch soon… is that man’s fault? Are cows farting man’s fault… I mean back over 150 years ago they did not filter any smoke and millions of buffalo farted all across the plains for hundreds of years if not thousands… I guess later that caused the Dust bowl and great depression and the stock market crash years later… and it was all man’s fault for letting buffalo’s fart….

The only real change man was doing to the atmosphere was that we thinned the ozone layer back in the 80’s and 90’s… I know that was true as that was the age of Hair Bands… Since Grunge came about, it killed the whole hair spray image and now the ozone layer is said to be fine…

Hair Bands… are evil… and not green…. Cow farts are natural and farmers should not be taxed $175 per cow.
I say with all the money Al Gore must have made as he "invented the Internet" we should tax Al Gore for all his farts and every time he expels a breath (like when he talks) and we could fix the deficit and global warming at the same time.
iggy

Monday, January 05, 2009

Galatians 6



Galatians 6

1Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. 2Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. 3If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else, 5for each one should carry his own load.

6Anyone who receives instruction in the word must share all good things with his instructor.

7Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature[a]will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. 9Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

11See what large letters I use as I write to you with my own hand!

12Those who want to make a good impression outwardly are trying to compel you to be circumcised. The only reason they do this is to avoid being persecuted for the cross of Christ. 13Not even those who are circumcised obey the law, yet they want you to be circumcised that they may boast about your flesh. 14May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which[b] the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. 15Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is a new creation. 16Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule, even to the Israel of God.

17Finally, let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus.

18The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers. Amen.

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This is the last installment of my study through Galatians. I am a little sad as this is one of my favorite books. Chapter 6 sums up the book as Paul brings the letter to a close.

In this day of Online Discernment Ministries (ODM) one can see why Paul exhorts us to us gentleness to bring someone who we see is in sin to restore them. Though Paul at times used strong words and often a caustic tone toward those who tried to persuade the Galatians away from Grace, one can see in his words the hurt and love he had for the churches of Galatia. Gentleness is a reflection of the kindness of God Paul wrote of in Romans 2 and it is God’s kindness that leads us to repentance. Often some think much to highly of themselves and disregard others as a less worthy of the Grace that saved them. So gentleness toward others is our vocation in the ministry of reconciliation. Often some think that we should only be kind to other believers… yet if one looks at the verse itself, Paul does not make a distinction whether one is a believer or not… he simply states:

1Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.

Notice also that a major reason is that we also may fall into the temptation that person is trapped in. So with a humble heart and kindness we are to reach out to those who are trapped in sin.

Humility is core to the Gospel. Jesus modeled humility in the very Incarnation and death for we who deserved judgment and wrath. In this simple act of humility we also need to realize that thinking too highly of our “self” cut across the grain of the Gospel and in fact impedes not only the Gospel but our own growth. We need to constantly check our own hearts and actions, and not look at others for some imaginary level of spirituality. To do so we deceive ourselves in two ways.

1. That we are doing better that someone else.
2. That we are doing worse than someone else.

Either of these can lead on to a false sense of worthiness and deceive one to think that they are doing better or worse that where God has them at that time. In this way, we can take “pride” (this is the godly type that is of proper self worth in respect to our position in Christ Jesus) in our own growth and journey as we see from where we came to where God has led us. One can look at the milestones of their life to see how God has changed their hearts and minds and rejoice in God transforming them into the image of Christ.

If one needs a sense of perspective on their position they need only look at Jesus for the standard we all miss and in that understand the kindness and gentleness of God and His love for us. In this way we share the goodness we receive from God with God and other may see God in us our hope of Glory.

Though works is not part of us getting saved, and we cannot produce the fruit of the Spirit ourselves, only bear it, our actions do reflect where we are and show if we are in Christ or not. To act in ways contrary to God’s will and continues to do so reflects that they may not come to salvation and will end in destruction. Yet, if we persist in doing good we will have the reward of eternal life. This good is not of our own works, but the out working of God in and through us. So Paul exhorts all believers to continue in doing the good works of God. Interestingly Paul states “especially” to those in the family of believers. How unfortunate that often the ones we should love the most, being our family we treat the worst at times.

There is some speculation that Paul wrote this letter or at least this last part with his own hands. Some state that he may have had problems with his eyesight, though I once heard an excellent sermon by Jason Clark of Sutton Vineyard speak of Paul’s hands. In this sermon he spoke of the many beatings, stonings, his tent making and other things Paul went through and did. In that one naturally hold their hands up to protect themselves, Jason speculated that Paul’s hands took major beatings and were most likely injured during his life. One clue is in verse 17:

17Finally, let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus.

Either way, Paul personally wrote the message himself.

Again, Paul warns of doing things to show one is more godly that others and that this motive is not of God. They do this for the reason so that others will accept then and that they may get the glory if someone is converted to their way. Sadly I confess that at times when I have witnessed my motives have not been pure and that I too have sought to get glory out of someone else’s conversion. Of course that is wrong and to read this does bring up some pain in my own actions in the past. God alone should get the Glory in someone’s salvation.

What we do in the flesh means nothing… so Paul states “15Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is a new creation.” Again sadly we forget that what counts is that we are a new creation… the old is gone the new is here.

This new creation is that we are now in the New Israel who is Jesus Himself. For only in Christ do we receive peace and mercy and only through Christ can we give peace and mercy of God to others.

And so now I close with the prayer of Paul to my readers.

18The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers [and sisters]. Amen.

I hope to have this all availabe in Word and PDF format so you can download the whole commentary if you desire.