Posts Tagged ‘christianity’


2019, Time to Stop Treading and Flapping in the water waves of difficult circumstances.
I know we all know the story of Jesus walking on the water and telling Peter to come out the boat and join him, but let’s look at it again.
Matthew 14:22-33 22Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, 24and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. 25Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.
27But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
28“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
29“Come,” he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
31Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
32And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

Peter ask Jesus to tell him to come to him as he wants all of us to come to Him. Peter kept his eyes on Jesus, but when he took his eyes off of Him and focused on the waves around him, he started to sink. As soon as he started to sink, he cried out, Lord save me, and Jesus Hand was right there. Now remember, when Jesus pulled him out of the water, He said “You of little faith”. Now remember, what I said in a Facebook post. If Jesus told Peter he had little faith, but with that little faith allowed him to walk on water, why are some of us still treading and flapping in the water?

I had to tread water for a certain period of time when I took the Swim Test in the Army. Some of you can relate. I was sweating in the pool, and when I got tired, I sank to get some rest and came back up and start treading and flapping in the water again. How long have some of us been flapping and treading water with the waves of difficult circumstances around us without looking to Jesus for help. Take the little faith, big faith or whatever level of faith you have and keep that focus on the Power of Jesus rather than on our own inadequacies. Stop using that flimsy excuse, “I need to have more faith”. Sometimes I hear Christians tell other, that you need more faith.

As soon as the storms of life take our focus on the Lord, cry out to Him like Peter. JESUS SAVE ME! And his hand will be right there for you. The only thing we need to do is take his hand. Do we doubt, yes, does our faith falter, yes and your lying if you say it don’t.

Lets Bring Home: Although we start out with good intentions, sometimes our faith falters. This doesn’t necessarily mean we have failed. When Peter’s faith faltered, he reached out to Christ, the only one who could help. He was afraid, but he still looked to Christ. When you are apprehensive about the troubles around you and doubt Christ’s presence or ability to help, remember that he is always with you and is the only one who can really help, so take the hand of God like Peter did and don’t try to work it out on your own. STOP TREADING AND FLAPPING IN THE WATER AND TAKE THE HAND OF GOD WHO IS THERE TO SAVE YOU.


Under Gods Command

(Hannah’s Prayer)

1 Samuel 2:1-10

1 Then Hannah prayed and said;

My heart rejoices in the Lord; in the Lord my horn is lifted high.

My mouth boasts over my enemies, for I delight in your deliverance. 

2 There is no one holy like the LORD; there is no one besides you;

there is no Rock like our God

3 Do not keep talking so proudly or let your mouth speak such arrogance, for the LORD is a GOD who knows, and by him deeds are weighed.

4 The bows of the warriors are broken, but hose who stumbled are armed with strength.  5 Those who were full hire themselves out for food, but those who were hungry hunger no more.  She who was barren has borne seven children, but she who has had many sons pines away.

6 The LORD brings death and makes alive; he brings down to the grave and raises up. 7 The LORD sends poverty and wealth; he humbles and he exalts.  8 He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; he seats them with princes and has them inherit a throne of honor.  

For the foundations of the earth are the LORD’S, upon them he has set the world. 

9 He will guard the feet of his saints, but the wicked will be silenced in darkness.

It is not by strength that one prevails; 10 those who oppose the LORD will be shattered.  He will thunder against them form heaven; the LORD will judge the ends of the earth.

He will give strength to his king and exalt the horn of his anointed.

 Hannah praised God for his answer to her prayer for a son. The theme of her poetic prayer is her confidence in God’s sovereignty and her thankfulness for everything he had done. Mary, the mother of Jesus, modeled her own praise song, called the Magnificat, after Hannah’s prayer (Luke 1:46-55). Like Hannah and Mary, we should be confident of God’s ultimate control over the events in our lives, and we should be thankful for the ways God has blessed us. By praising God for all good gifts, we acknowledge his ultimate control over all the affairs of life.

Hannah praised God for being a Rock—firm, strong, and unchanging. In our fast-paced world, friends come and go, and circumstances change. It’s difficult to find a solid foundation that will not change. Those who devote their lives to achievements, causes, or possessions have as their security that which is finite and changeable. The possessions that we work so hard to obtain will all pass away. But God is always present. Hope in him. He will never fail.

No doubt as Hannah said these words, she was thinking of Peninnah’s arrogance and chiding. Hannah did not have to get even with Peninnah. She knew that God is all-knowing, and that he will judge all sin and pride. Hannah wisely left judgment up to God. Resist the temptation to take justice into your own hands. God will weigh your deeds as well as the deeds of those who have wronged you.

Lets Bring it Home: Because we live in a world where evil abounds and where war and terrorism always threaten, we may forget that God is in control. Hannah saw God as (1) solid as a rock (2:2), (2) the one who knows what we do (2:3), (3) sovereign over all the affairs of people (2:4-8), and (4) the supreme Judge who administers perfect justice (2:10). Remembering God’s sovereign control helps us put both world and personal events in perspective.


Under Gods Command

(Samuel’s birth and childhood)

1 Samuel 1:12 -17As she kept on praying to the LORD, Eli observed her mouth. 13Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard. Eli thought she was drunk 14and said to her, “How long are you going to stay drunk? Put away your wine.”
     15“Not so, my lord,” Hannah replied, “I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have not been drinking wine or beer; I was pouring out my soul to the LORD. 16Do not take your servant for a wicked woman; I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief.”
     17Eli answered, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him.”

Eli was a Priest, and miss judged this woman at first. But instead of just walking away with that believe of her being drunk with wine, he spoke to her and told her to put away your wine. Then he found out he miss judge her, and listened to her story.

Lets Bring Home: How many times do we miss judge a situation, and walk away with the thought of what we think we saw? When at times if we speak to him or her, we also can find the truth in someone’s situation, and give him or her a word of encouragement that just might change his or her life. How many people have we walked by or came to us and we did not have time which later ended up in a bad situation or Suicide?


Under Gods Command

(Samuel’s birth and childhood)

1 Samuel 1:10-11 In her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the LORD, weeping bitterly. And she made a vow, saying, “O LORD Al mighty, if you will only look upon your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the LORD for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.” 

Be careful what you promise in prayer because God may take you up on it. Hannah so desperately wanted a child that she was willing to strike a bargain with God. God took her up on her promise, and to Hannah’s credit, she did her part, even though it was painful (1:27-28).     Although we are not in a position to negotiate with God, he may still choose to answer a prayer that has an attached promise.

Lets Bring it Home: When you pray, ask yourself, “Will I follow through on any promises I make to God if he grants my request?” It is dishonest and dangerous to ignore a promise, especially to God. God keeps his promises, and he expects you to keep yours.


Under Gods Command (Book of Leviticus)

The Day of Atonement

(The Day of Atonement was the greatest day of the year for Israel. The Hebrew word for atone means “to cover.” Old Testament sacrifices could not actually remove sins, only cover them. On this day, the people confessed their sins as a nation, and the high priest went into the Most Holy Place to make atonement for them. Sacrifices were made and blood was shed so that the people’s sins could be “covered” until Christ’s sacrifice on the cross would give people the opportunity to have their sin removed forever.

Aaron had to spend hours preparing himself to meet God. But we can approach God anytime (Hebrews 4:16). What a privilege! We are offered easier access to God than the high priests of Old Testament times! Still, we must never forget that God is holy nor let this privilege cause us to approach God carelessly.)

Lets Bring it Home: The way to God has been opened to us by Christ. But easy access to God does not eliminate our need to prepare our hearts as we draw near in prayer. 

16:1-34 The LORD spoke to Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron who died when they approached the LORD. 2The LORD said to Moses: “Tell your brother Aaron that he is not to come whenever he chooses into the Most Holy Place behind the curtain in front of the atonement cover on the ark, or else he will die. For I will appear in the cloud over the atonement cover.

    3“This is how Aaron is to enter the Most Holy Place: He must first bring a young bull for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering. 4He is to put on the sacred linen tunic, with linen undergarments next to his body; he is to tie the linen sash around him and put on the linen turban. These are sacred garments; so he must bath himself with water before he puts them on. 

5From the Israelite community he is to take two male goats for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering.

    6“Aaron is to offer the bull for his own sin offering to make atonement for himself and his household. 7Then he is to take the two goats and present them before the LORD at the entrance to the tent of meeting. 8He is to cast lots for the two goats—one lot for the LORD and the other for the scapegoat 9Aaron shall bring the goat whose lot falls to the LORD and sacrifice it for a sin offering. 10But the goat chosen by lot as the scapegoat shall be presented alive before the LORD to be used for making atonement by sending it into the wilderness as a scapegoat.

    11“Aaron shall bring the bull for his own sin offering to make atonement for himself and his household, and he is to slaughter the bull for his own sin offering. 

12He is to take a censer full of burning coals from the altar before the LORD and two handfuls of finely ground fragrant incense and take them behind the curtain.

(A censer was a dish or shallow bowl that hung by a chain or was carried with tongs. Inside the censer were placed incense (a combination of sweet-smelling resins and spices) and burning coals from the altar. On the Day of Atonement, the high priest entered the Most Holy Place carrying a smoking censer. The smoke shielded him from the ark of the covenant and the presence of God—otherwise he would die. Incense may also have had a very practical purpose. The sweet smell drew the people’s attention to the morning and evening sacrifices and helped cover the sometimes foul smell of the sacrifices.) 

13He is to put the incense on the fire before the LORD, and the smoke of the incense will conceal the atonement cover above the tablets of the covenant law, so that he will not die. 14He is to take some of the bull’s blood and with his finger sprinkle it on the front of the atonement cover; then he shall sprinkle some of it with his finger seven times before the atonement cover.

    15“He shall then slaughter the goat for the sin offering for the people and take its blood behind the curtain and do with it as he did with the bull’s blood: He shall sprinkl it on the atonement cover and in front of it. 16In this way he will make atonement for the Most Holy Place because of the uncleanness and rebellion of the Israelites, whatever their sins have been. He is to do the same for the tent of meeting, which is among them in the midst of their uncleanness. 17No one is to be in the tent of meeting from the time Aaron goes in to make atonement in the Most Holy Place until he comes out, having made atonement for himself, his household and the whole community of Israel.

    18“Then he shall come out to the altar that is before the LORD and make atonement for it. He shall take some of the bull’s blood and some of the goat’s blood and put it on all the horns of the altar. 19He shall sprinkle some of the blood on it with his finger seven times to cleanse it and to consecrate it from the uncleanness of the Israelites.

    20“When Aaron has finished making atonement for the Most Holy Place, the tent of meeting and the altar, he shall bring forward the live goat. 21He is to lay both hands on the head of the live goat and confess over it all the wickedness and rebellion of the Israelites—all their sins—and put them on the goat’s head. He shall send the goat away into the wilderness in the care of someone appointed for the task. 22The goat will carry on itself all their sins to a remote place; and the man shall release it in the wilderness.

    23“Then Aaron is to go into the tent of meeting and take off the linen garments he put on before he entered the Most Holy Place, and he is to leave them there. 24He shall bathe himself with water in the sanctuary area and put on his regular garments. Then he shall come out and sacrifice the burnt offering for himself and the burnt offering for the people, to make atonement for himself and for the people. 25He shall also burn the fat of the sin offering on the altar.

    26“The man who releases the goat as a scapegoat must wash his clothes and bathe himself with water; afterward he may come into the camp. 27The bull and the goat for the sin offerings, whose blood was brought into the Most Holy Place to make atonement, must be taken outside the camp; their hides, flesh and intestines are to be burned up. 28The man who burns them must wash his clothes and bathe himself with water; afterward he may come into the camp. 

(This event with the two goats occurred on the Day of Atonement. The two goats represented the two ways God was dealing with the Israelites’ sin: (1) He was forgiving their sin through the first goat, which was sacrificed, and (2) he was removing their guilt through the second goat, the scapegoat, which was sent into the wilderness. The same ritual had to be repeated every year. Jesus Christ’s death replaced this system once and for all.)

Lets Bring it Home: We can have our sins forgiven and guilt removed by placing our trust in Christ (Hebrews 10:1-18). 

 29“This is to be a lasting ordinance for you: On the tenth day of the seventh month you must deny yourselves and not do any work—whether native-borne or a foreigner residing among you— 30because on this day atonement will be made for you, to cleanse you. Then, before the LORD, you will be clean from all your sins. 31It is a day of sabbath rest, and you must deny yourselves; it is a lasting ordinance. 32The priest who is anointed and ordained to succeed his father as high priest is to make atonement. He is to put on the sacred linen garments 33and make atonement for the Most Holy Place, for the tent of meeting and the altar, and for the priests and all the members of the community.

    34“This is to be a lasting ordinance for you: Atonement is to be made once a yearn for all the sins of the Israelites.”     And it was done, as the LORD commanded Moses.


Under Gods Command (Book of Leviticus)
Leviticus 6:12-13

12The fire on the altar must be kept burning; it must not go out. Every morning the priest is to add firewood and arrange the burnt offering on the fire and burn the fat of the fellowship offerings on it.
13The fire must be kept burning on the altar continuously; it must not go out. 
While the previous offerings and sacrifices were ones that the people did, the section from 6:8–7:38 deals with general and continual priestly duties. The burnt offering was presented in the morning and evening for the whole nation (see Exodus 29:38-43). The holy fire on the altar had to keep burning because God had started it. This represented God’s continual presence in the sacrificial system. It showed the people that only by God’s gracious favor could their sacrifices be acceptable.

Lets Bring it Home: God’s fire is present in each believer’s life today. He lights the fire when the Holy Spirit comes to live in us, and he tends it so that we will grow in grace as we walk with him. When we are aware that God lives in us, we have confidence to come to him for forgiveness and restoration. We can carry out our work with strength and enthusiasm.


Under Gods Command (Book of Leviticus)

Leviticus 6:1-7 (The Guilt Offering)

1-7 The LORD said to Moses: 2“If anyone sins and is unfaithful to the LORD by deceiving a neighbor about something entrusted to them or left in their care or about something stolen, or if they cheat their neighbor, 3or if they find lost property and lie about it, or if they swear falsely about any such sin that people may commit— 4when they sin in any of these ways and realize their guilt, they must return what they have stolen or taken by extortion, or what was entrusted to them, or the lost property they found, 5or whatever it was they swore falsely about. They must make restitution in full, add a fifth of the value to it and give it all to the owner on the day they present their guilt offering. 6And as a penalty they must bring to the priest, that is, to the LORD, their guilt offering, a ram from the flock, one without defect and of the proper value. 7In this way the priest will make atonement for them before the LORD, and they will be forgiven for any of the things they did that made them guilty.”

Here we discover that stealing involves more than just taking from someone. Finding something and not returning it or failing to return something borrowed are other forms of stealing. These are sins against God and not just your neighbor, a stranger, or a large business. 

Lets Bring it Home: If you have gotten something deceitfully, then confess your sin to God, apologize to the owner, and return the stolen items—with interest.


Under Gods Command (Book of Leviticus)

Leviticus 5 (The Sin Offering)

1-6:     1“ ‘If anyone sins because they do not speak up when they hear a public charge to testify regarding something they have seen or learned about, they will be held responsible.   

  2“ ‘If anyone becomes aware that they are guilty—if they unwittingly touch anything ceremonially unclean (whether the carcass of an unclean animal, wild or domestic, or of any unclean creature that moves along the ground) and they are unaware that they have become unclean, but then they come to realize their guilt; 3or if they touch human uncleanness (anything that would make them unclean)f even though they are unaware of it, but then they learn of it and realize their guilt;

4or if anyone thoughtlessly takes an oath to do anything, whether good or evil (in any matter one might carelessly swear about) even though he is unaware of it, when he learns of it he will be guilty.

Have you ever sworn to do or not do something and then realized how foolish your promise was? God’s people are called to keep their word, even if they make promises that are tough to keep. Jesus was warning against swearing (in the sense of making vows or oaths) when he said, “All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one” (Matthew 5:37).

Lets Bring it Home: Our word should be enough. If we feel we have to strengthen it with an oath, something is wrong with our sincerity. The only promises we ought not to keep are promises that lead to sin. A wise and self-controlled person avoids making rash promises. 

5:When anyone is guilty in any of these ways, he must confess in what way he has sinned and 6as a penalty for the sin they have committed, they must bring to the LORD a female lamb or goat from the flock as a sin offering; and the priest shall make atonement for them for their sin. 

The entire system of sacrifices could not help a sinner unless he brought his offering with an attitude of repentance and a willingness to confess sin. Today, because of Christ’s death on the cross, we do not have to sacrifice animals. But it is still vital to confess sin, because genuine confession shows realization of sin, awareness of God’s holiness, humility before God, and willingness to turn from this sin (Psalm 51:16-17).

Lets Bring it Home: Even Jesus’ death will be of little value to us if we do not repent and follow him. It is like a vaccine for a dangerous disease—it won’t help unless it enters the bloodstream. 

In this way the priest will make atonement for the man’s sin, and he will be forgiven. (This statement is mentioned 5 times in Chapter 5 after each Offering).


Under Gods Command 

Proverbs 7:14 I have peace offerings with me; this day have I payed my vows.

Whores can be religious. They can even be found at church. Here Solomon described a strange woman – a whore, prostitute, or adulteress. She seduced her young victim by telling him of her religious activities: she was a good woman with high standards, including religious attendance; and she had the best of her sacrifices to share with him.

Peace offerings were split between worshipper and priest. Since the sacrificed item was perfect, the food resulting from it was of the highest quality (Pr 17:1; Lev 3:6; 22:21). It could have been equivalent to USDA Prime+. The part remaining with the worshipper was often shared with friends or used for feasts (Lev 7:15-16; 19:5-6; Deut 12:6-7).

Peace offerings were voluntary offerings to give thanks or pay vows (Lev 19:5). Even a whore can have a form of religion, which serves her selfish goals. It may sooth remains of her vexed conscience; it may disguise her immoral life with a show of religion; and it may assist her seduction of a virtuous young man (Pr 6:26). Or it may serve all three!

The strange woman in Solomon’s extended parable was no common street slut. She was a fine woman with financial means, of noble reputation, and good taste. She offered to share a joyful religious celebration with the young man. The Preacher did his best to warn his son that a whore may change conduct to seduce careful young men (Pr 5:6; Ec 7:26).

Here is a powerful seductress – an elegant and fine woman with character and spirituality to enhance her invitation to adultery. Men may fear prostitutes for their cold hearts, obvious financial motive, likelihood of disease, lack of cleanliness, frequent use, legal risk, and impersonal performance. The Preacher knew how to get to the heart of a matter.

What a fine invitation! She had no ulterior financial motive, for she provided the fare. She was a sensitive and sincere woman well received in the better circles of her city. She had much fine food, and her only ambition appeared a need for company. “Come,” she said, “I need you to complete this wonderful day and enjoy life’s fine things with me.”

Young man! Wake up! Open your eyes! Behind her invitation is a snare to take you down to death and hell (Pr 7:27). Once in the hold of her lascivious arms and under the spell of her flattering lips, you are lost without hope of recovery (Pr 5:22; 22:14; 23:27). Stay away! There are some temptations you can fight, but this temptation you must flee!

A form of religion to cover intentional sin compounds the crime (Pr 21:27). Rome offers many flattering pretensions of religion, but she is the great whore and mother of harlots and abominations of the earth (Rev 17:1-6), which has used vows of celibacy and poverty, both of which are contrary to the Bible, to defraud and destroy many. Beware!


Under Gods Command (Book of Leviticus)

MEGATHEMES

Sacrifice/Offering

EXPLANATION: There are five kinds of offerings that fulfill two main purposes: one to show praise, thankfulness, and devotion; the other for atonement, the covering and removal of guilt and sin. Animal offerings demonstrated that the person was giving his or her life to God by means of the life of the animal.

IMPORTANCE: The sacrifices (offerings) were for worship and forgiveness of sin. Through them we learn about the cost of sin, for we see that we cannot forgive ourselves. God’s system says that a life must be given for a life. In the Old Testament, an animal’s life was given to save the life of a person. But this was only a temporary measure until Jesus’ death paid the penalty of sin for all people forever.

Worship

EXPLANATION: Seven festivals were designated as religious and national holidays. They were often celebrated in family settings. These events teach us much about worshiping God in both celebration and quiet dedication.

IMPORTANCE: God’s rules about worship set up an orderly, regular pattern of fellowship with him. They allowed times for celebration and thanksgiving as well as for reverence and rededication. Our worship should demonstrate our deep devotion.

Health

EXPLANATION: Civil rules for handling food, disease, and sex were taught. In these physical principles, many spiritual principles were suggested. Israel was to be different from the surrounding nations. God was preserving Israel from disease and community health problems.

IMPORTANCE: We are to be different morally and spiritually from the unbelievers around us. Principles for healthy living are as important today as in Moses’ time. A healthy environment and a healthy body make our service to God more effective.

Holiness

EXPLANATION: Holy means “separated” or “devoted.” God removed his people from Egypt; now he was removing Egypt from the people. He was showing them how to exchange Egyptian ways of living and thinking for his ways.

IMPORTANCE: We must devote every area of life to God. God desires absolute obedience in motives as well as practices. Though we do not observe all the worship practices of Israel, we are to have the same spirit of preparation and devotion.

Levites

EXPLANATION: The Levites and priests instructed the people in their worship. They were the ministers of their day. They also regulated the moral, civil, and ceremonial laws and supervised the health, justice, and welfare of the nation.

IMPORTANCE: The Levites were servants who showed Israel the way to God. They provide the historical backdrop for Christ, who is our High Priest and yet our Servant. God’s true servants care for all the needs of their people.