Tag Archives: salvation

God wrestles with Jacob

Jacob wrestles God

from blog.adw.org. I don’t own the rights to this image, and I’m not making any money on it.

For God to get Jacob into right relationship with Him, He literally fights against the mortal.

Jacob was a acute and chronic bad boy. He took advantage of this brother, Esau, in a moment of weakness. He deceives his dad and steals his brother’s blessing. He’s the most unscrupulous conniver of the Old Testament.

God works on him. First, he sends him away from his family for 20 years. He can’t attend his mom’s funeral. Then he’s tricked by his uncle, for whom he worked seven years to marry Rachel. When he wakes up the morning after the wedding (lighting was bad in those days), it’s Leah, the ugly older sister. He must work another seven years for Rachel.

Then he’s cheated on wages. When he flees, his uncle comes after him and very nearly kills him.

Still, Jacob is unrepentant.

Then Jacob’s brother comes out with a small army to kill the defenseless Jacob. That night, it finally occurs to Jacob to pray. He literally wrestles with God, a symbol of how his relationship with God has been. God, obviously, wins, but not without some stubborn resistance from the stubborn man.

The next day, Esau’s 400-man army comes upon him — and God miraculously intervenes. Instead of killing him in short order, Esau breaks down and kisses him. It wasn’t the bonds of family that beat the bonds of bitterness. It was God.

How far will God have to go to get your attention?

Romancing Ruth

RuthShe chooses poverty, discrimination and likely abuse all to be with her widowed mother-in-law, Naomi. What gets into Ruth to leave behind the connections and culture of Moab and go to Bethlehem, where she has no chances?

Without any job opportunities, she decides to “glean” behind the harvesters, a back-breaking sun-scorching 12 hours of picking up dropped grains in which you’d expect to get about one meal for one person. A panhandler in the U.S. fares far better.

Yet she was hot. Since she was a foreigner, someone could have taken advantage of her, and she couldn’t expect legal protections. Ruth opened herself to all these dangers and adversities to be loyal to her new family and serve God.

God has a way of honoring those who honor Him. Boaz takes note of her sacrifice and kindness rendered to her mother-in-law. Eventually he marries her. As a result, her finances and future are secured.

The Day of the Lord/ The Day of His Visitation

The Day of the Lord

I want to thank whoever originated this image. It is stirring. I don’t own its rights, and I’m not making any money on it.

Two widely used Old Testament terms appear synonymous.

  1. the Day of the Lord
  2. the Day of His Visitation.

In fact, they are polar opposites. The first is for judgement, the second, mercy.

Why do you long for the day of the Lord? That day will be of darkness, not light – Amos 5:18 NIV. By contrast, Naomi fled famine in Bethlehem to Moab, but when she heard the Lord had “visited” her people by giving them rain (food), she returned (Ruth 1:6).

This is more than delving into Scripture deeper than most people care for because of the Day of our Lord Jesus. Was Jesus’ advent a “Day of the Lord” or a “Day of His Visitation?”

The answer is both. His incarnation, crucifixion and resurrection was God’s judgement on the world, diverted onto Christ. It was also God’s favor because we were lavished with His grace — His restoring forgiveness.

Such Bible study should stir us to praise as we marvel over the wonderful conclusion that Jesus Christ brought to the progressive revelation in the Old Testament.

Seedless Christians?

seedless ChristiansSeedless watermelons have been engineered so that you don’t have to spit. You can devour sweet, wet, red fruit without the hassle of separating out the seeds. Scientists have also genetically engineered seedless grapes, bananas, oranges, lemons, tomatoes. They are a contradiction in terms because fruit is defined by the seeds they carry.

So too, the Christian is defined by the seed s/he carries, seeds of evangelism, seeds of change, seeds of revolution. A seedless Christian is one who remains continually unmotivated to do much for Christ. He is inwardly focused, self-centered and immature.

Seedless fruits were altered to make the fruit more palatable to the eater. If you are a seedless Christian, you are more palatable — to the devil.

The good news is, of course, that we can pray to become full of seeds. We can begin to aim our lives in a new direction and do the things which Christ has called us to do. A Christian, by definition, saves others from their sins also.

You aren’t alone

despairSo much effort and money is being spent on finding life in Mars or elsewhere — all in an effort to see if we are not alone in the Galaxy. You needn’t invest so much to find out that you are not, in fact, alone.

Jesus is only  a prayer away. He is loving you through your time of suffering. He is simply waiting for you to call out to Him.

Need for a finisher

Clint Dempsey. I don't own the rights to this photo, and I'm not making any money on it.

Clint Dempsey. I don’t own the rights to this photo, and I’m not making any money on it.

Part of the weakness of the U.S. Men’s National Team is the lack of a true finisher. Clint Dempsey finished a 34-second goal against Ghana that was nice, but he’s not like the finishers who given half a chance bury it in the net.

Cristiano Ronaldo is a great finisher, but he was injured, so he played poorly. Luis Suarez is deadly as a striker; too bad he likes to bite opponents. Wesley Sneijder took a back-header bouncing ball and rocketed it low into the net to sink Mexico’s hopes for their first-ever World Cup.

Impossible to stop, Sneijder's goal was part of Holland overturning a 1-goal deficit to win. I don't own the rights to this photo, and I'm not making any money on it.

Impossible to stop, Sneijder’s goal was part of Holland overturning a 1-goal deficit to win. I don’t own the rights to this photo, and I’m not making any money on it.

As the name suggests, a finisher may NOT be good at passing, possession, bodying, defending, imagination or creation. His job is only one: If teammates get him the ball near or in the area, he smashes it home. (He doesn’t kick it wide or high, as you so often see.)

The U.S. has an awesome goalie, competent defenders, a sensational midfielder, speeding wingers. Dempsey has played forward successfully in the English Premier League, so he’s the best thing we’ve got (if Jozy Altidore doesn’t recover from injury) for Tuesday’s game against Belgium. He’s hardworking, but he’s not a natural finisher.

Mexico World Cup loss

After barely qualifying, Mexico produced some spectacular football but lost because an exquisite finisher. I don’t own the rights to this photo, and I’m not making any money on it..

Every team needs a finisher. Team U.S.A. doesn’t have one.

“It is finished,” Jesus said from the cross. No one else could earn us salvation. We can’t earn our own salvation. When He took our sins to the cross, the Sinless Savior finished off a game that the devil was winning. Death, empowered by the fall, was consuming ravenously all humanity, until Jesus finished Death off. “It is finished.”

By Picketty on redbubble. I don't own the rights to this art, and I'm not making any money on it.

By Picketty on redbubble. I don’t own the rights to this art, and I’m not making any money on it.

Jesus is our finisher.

Loneliness

lonelinessIf you never suffer pain, you will undervalue joy.

If you don’t know anguish, relief is boring.

If you ignore what misery is, you will be void of compassion.

If you don’t understand how your sin puts you into desperate straits before God, you will never grasp the imponderable wonder of grace and salvation.

If it’s always somebody’s else’s fault, you will never know what it means to forgive.

If you only love yourself, you do not know what love is.

Really? Marijuana?

Christian Fellowship Ministries

This is obviously not Tom. Dozens of youth are challenged yearly to go the way of God, not the way of perdition, each year.

At the time, I had no idea that Tom* smoked pot. He just seemed like the sweetest kid. He fervently loved God. He even sponsored a friend to go to camp. At Q300, such “fruit” showed genuineness.

I had no idea of the tempest swirling in his background. The only sign of trouble was that quickly a room-renter in his house complained of being robbed. The amount? Q300.

Liceo Bilingue La Puerta

El Liceo Bilingue La Puerta teaches youth to avoid alcohol, drugs, domestic violence, crime and other ways people look for happiness. We’re not official a reform school, but we have a decent reforming record.

It seemed clear to me who stole it because the amounts were precise. What was weird was that the money was not used for self.

Not long after, I fled organized criminals in Guatemala after almost 16 years of missionary work. I tried to eke out a life in the States and find meaningful ministry. After being away for four years, I visited the church and school we had pioneered with my wife.

Tom tracked me down to thank me. He gave me his testimony. He had been smoking weed when he came to our school, and God had challenged him to come out of a lot of confusion. I didn’t ask about the Q300 though. I forgot.

He had heard I was back in Guatemala, and he personally came to thank me. Praise God for what preaching the gospel can do. Next time you sponsor someone to camp, Tom, it has be your own money.

* Name changed.

Image

The first king sized bed

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Heaven is real

Heaven is real

from Blue Pueblo

Dianna’s co-worker was dumbfounded — why was Dianna not crying? Her dad had just died.

Dianna explained that 1) his passing came as no surprise, and 2) we have no doubt as to the reality of Heaven.

beauty

from Blue Pueblo

If you don’t believe in Heaven, you will try to extract every ounce of pleasure from Earth. Don’t get me wrong: I believe there’s a great taste of Heaven here. But that is just a foretaste. Those who try to experience Heaven on Earth are accepting tinsel for gold. If you don’t believe in Heaven, then you wail hopelessly upon the death of friends and family — or stiffen yourself stoically.

joy

from Dumb a Day

The evolutionists deride Heaven. The atheists scoff. The humanists ridicule. Still the human heart yearns to believe in eternity. We are not animals. Undeniably born in the human heart is the knowledge of eternity. What we yearn for, God confirms in His Word:

  • My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I a.m — John 14:2-3 NIV.
  • We do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first — 1 Thes. 4:13, 16 NIV.
  • And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God — Revelations 21:3 NIV.

In regards to Heaven, let me say one important thing: We eat sumptuous food in Heaven. Why should Dianna cry? Dad is in Heaven.