Designer Disaster and Divine Destruction

September 29, 2017 at 4:07 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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In Chapter 6 the prophecy that the Lord gave to Jeremiah is in the form of poetry, but it is a dark poem, containing gloomy and frightening imagery. It describes God’s use of a terrible invading army which He allows and even directs against His own people because of their idolatry, wickedness, hypocrisy, and rebellion against Him.

O ye children of Benjamin, gather yourselves to flee out of the midst of Jerusalem, and blow the trumpet in Tekoa, and set up a sign of fire in Bethhaccerem: for evil appeareth out of the north, and great destruction. I have likened the daughter of Zion to a comely and delicate woman. The shepherds with their flocks shall come unto her; they shall pitch their tents against her round about; they shall feed every one in his place. Prepare ye war against her; arise, and let us go up at noon. Woe unto us! for the day goeth away, for the shadows of the evening are stretched out. Arise, and let us go by night, and let us destroy her palaces.

Jeremiah 6:1-5

This ominous threat from “out of the north” would bring both evil and destruction. The “evil” is not necessarily a reference to moral evil, but rather a conveyance of the idea of a catastrophic (although designed rather than random) experience of destruction from the point of view of the nation of Judah. While the Hebrew ra is sometimes translated as “disaster” (from the original meaning of a bad event brought about by a bad alignment of the stars or planets: astro), it is clear that God’s people were about (absent some severe and urgent repentance) to be overwhelmed by God’s specifically and forewarned justice.

On the other hand, while “disaster” would convey the wrong sense of this attack, the parallel description of “destruction” is spot-on, for, just as “construction” means “a building up,” “destruction” means a “tearing-down,” and that is exactly what the invaders would do to the walls, homes, Temple, and buildings in Jerusalem.

Christians today who are in a state of backsliding or rebellion against God, need to heed these prophetic warnings. Whether reprieve or destruction befalls us is ultimately up to God. He is not subject to any circumstances, accidents, or astrological omens. He could have a very well-thought-out and serious plan of chastening on the verge of landing in our land, luxuries, or laps, and if it catches us unaware or unrepentant, we would only have ourselves to blame. Likewise, He is more than capable of tearing down any materialistic idols that we have built up in our lives should He choose discipline us and bring us back to Himself in love.

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Doubting Disciples Duped by Demonic Distractions

April 25, 2017 at 11:53 am | Posted in Biblical friendship, Mark | 1 Comment
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And Jesus went out, and his disciples, into the towns of Caesarea Philippi: and by the way he asked his disciples, saying unto them, Whom do men say that I am?

Mark 8:27

Most of us are self-conscious enough to think that it would probably sound prideful and arrogant to others if we went around asking, “What are people saying about me?” So we don’t overtly ask it, but the truth is that there are many people who are dying to know what others are saying about them. As parents we tell kids, “It doesn’t matter what people say about you,” and there is some truth to this, but it does matter what we THINK and what we SAY about Jesus.

And he saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Peter answereth and saith unto him, Thou art the Christ. And he charged them that they should tell no man of him. And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.

Mark 8:29-31

Jesus had summoned the Disciples to tell them secrets.

Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.

John 15:14-15

Servants of the King do as they’re told; friends of the King get to know the King’s secrets because they have a PATTERN of doing what they’re told.

And he charged them that they should tell no man of him.

Mark 8:30

The Jewish leaders would not have allowed this confession (“Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God”) to go unpunished, and it was not yet the appointed time for the Crucifixion. The common people were showing unbelief and false faith, and most of them just wanted to see more miracles. Now the Disciples were confused. Peter believed Jesus was the Son of God, so how could He allow sinful men to crucify Him?

And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. And he spake that saying openly. And Peter took him, and began to rebuke him.

Mark 8:31-32

Jesus responded:

But when he had turned about and looked on his disciples, he rebuked Peter, saying, Get thee behind me, Satan: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men.

Mark 8:33

Peter knew the Truth, but he thought he could question the Truth just a little and still be dealing in “Truth.” That’s not how it works. The minute we question the Truth, we start speaking for Satan. Peter was not possessed by the devil, but his words were the influence of Satanic-type thinking. They were the seeds of lies dressed as doubt. Satan will often disguise a lie as a question (or an excuse, which is the skin of a reason stuffed with a lie).

Jesus did not say, “I bind you, Satan. I cast you out of this city. I issue you a warrant of spiritual eviction…” He did not say, “I hate you, Devil. The blood of Jesus is against you, Devil. You can’t have Peter, you old Devil.” No, Jesus dealt in Truth, not diatribes against Satan. He simply told Satan to get behind Him because Satan was causing Peter to talk about the philosophy of man, not the Truth of God.

The Gospel of Mark stresses Jesus in His role as Servant – staying busy – moving forward – no time for a “side battle” with the devil. Many Christians enjoy fighting devils so much that they don’t know how – or don’t want – to go forward in their Christian lives. They turn around and try to fight some demons. They don’t say “get behind me, Satan” because they don’t have enough faith to turn their back on him. Some don’t say “get behind me, Satan” because if they had a victory over Satan, they would have to look inside their own hearts to deal with the sin there.

And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it. For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?

Mark 8:34-36

Satan promises you glory, but in the end you receive suffering. God promises you suffering, but in the end suffering is transformed into glory.

Disciples, Defilement, and Division

March 16, 2017 at 3:46 pm | Posted in Mark | 4 Comments
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Chapters 7 and 8 are sections in the Gospel of Mark which highlight the teaching ministry of Jesus and some of the responses to it. The Pharisees wanted to attack Jesus, so it was natural that they went to what they perceived as one of their greatest strengths: tradition. Jesus was not opposed to traditions UNLESS they were traditions that were contrary to the Word of God.

The Pharisees had taken God’s Levitical laws about cleanliness, which God had given to separate the Jewish people from the Canaanites, and to help keep His people healthy, and had completely stripped them of their spiritual meaning. The Pharisees placed all their emphasis on the outward appearance, and none on the inward heart.

They saw some of Jesus’s disciples eating without washing their hands.

Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands? He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with [their] lips, but their heart is far from me.

Mark 7:5-6

As a parent, you probably make your children wash their hands before they eat, and that’s a good idea. But would you let your children get away with lying, as long as they washed their hands first? If you caught your child with his hand in the cookie jar after being forbidden from taking a cookie, and the child said, “It’s okay that I’m disobeying you, because I washed my hands first,” would you accept that as a valid excuse?

Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye. And when he had called all the people [unto him], he said unto them, Hearken unto me every one [of you], and understand: There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man.

Mark 7:13-15

It’s not that Jesus was interested in stopping people from practicing basic hygiene, or even in changing their diets to more risky fare in terms of “clean” and “unclean” meats. What He was stressing to them was that physical cleanliness and eating healthy foods did not matter if the attitude of their hearts was not right.

And he saith unto them, Are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, [it] cannot defile him; Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats? And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.

Mark 7:18-23

Now contrast the attitude of the Pharisees, and their pride, with the attitude of the gentile woman who wanted Jesus to cast a demon out of her daughter.

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. And she answered and said unto him, Yes, Lord: yet the dogs under the table eat of the children’s crumbs. And he said unto her, For this saying go thy way; the devil is gone out of thy daughter. And when she was come to her house, she found the devil gone out, and her daughter laid upon the bed.

Mark 7:27-30

Remember, Jesus always taught with great authority. He was not a mealy-mouthed teacher. It’s almost as if the crowds who followed Jesus were becoming very divided. There were those who pridefully felt they should have some control over the miracles He was doing, and there were those who very humbly and with great urgency tried to fight through the onlookers and the skeptics and the proud observers because they truly believed Jesus was their only hope. We have this same type of people with us today. Will we block their way? Or will we usher them to Jesus?

Delaying Dutifully During Deliverance

August 14, 2013 at 10:42 am | Posted in Exodus | 10 Comments
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God’s people cried and sighed and groaned. Then they were delivered, and it did not really have anything to do with their own strength, merits, or attributes. We call them “God’s chosen people” because God did the choosing. Like Christians today, they could not boast of themselves, when basically all they did was: “get chosen.” The Lord does not choose His people in the same way that a captain picks teams for volleyball. God doesn’t always pick the best players based on past performance. He often picks the puny and rejected so that He gets the glory.

When the prayers of the Israelites were answered, they must have cheered. “We’ve been delivered!” But then they paused before the Red Sea and they heard the distant hoofbeats, the churning chariot wheels, the trumpets, the war cries… coming from just beyond the horizon. “What if,” they wondered, “God delivered us only for this! For a slaughter?”

Waiting on God is sometimes harder than working for God. Sometimes it’s easier to cry out to God in a faithless panic than to wait faithfully with God-honoring calm assurance for Him to do what’s best. Our battles are supposed to be the Lord’s battles. Our deliverance is really God’s deliverance. If you were chosen by God to be saved, remember that He did the saving. And now that the flesh, the world, and the devil have a bull’s eye on your forehead, and they want to kill you, how are you going to fight? Will you compromise? You can’t compromise with the devil or any of God’s enemies. Will you scheme and manipulate? Will you fight the battle with carnal weapons: gossip, hypocrisy, backbiting, self-help books, common sense? Or will you wait to see the Lord fight the battle. Obey Him and get into the Red Sea, as crazy as that sounds, and just go where He leads.

And when Pharaoh drew nigh, the children of Israel lifted up their eyes, and, behold, the Egyptians marched after them; and they were sore afraid: and the children of Israel cried out unto the LORD. And they said unto Moses, Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt? Is not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness. And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever. The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.

Exodus 14:10-14

Moses basically told them, “God’s got this under control – shut your mouths.”

And the LORD said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward:

Exodus 14:15

“Shut your mouths and go forward.” What if, as Christians, we just shut our mouths from complaining and grumbling and slyly airing our complaints about God? What if we just went where He told us? Just forgave everybody who cheated us and lied to us and played dirty tricks on us? Just gave it to God even though it seems like we can’t afford not to fight back? Just loved everybody we met – especially the seemingly unlovable?

When Jesus rescued me, He brought me out of a condition much worse spiritually than bondage in Egypt. What in the world makes me think He can’t get me across the Red Sea and into Canaan?

Finally Finishing Five Hundred

December 14, 2011 at 11:30 am | Posted in A Little Alliteration | 4 Comments
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This is the 500th post on this blog. Managing enough consistency to accomplish this insignificant little feat probably shouldn’t even be mentioned in the same breath with the famous missionary, William Carey, and some of the great things God used him to accomplish for the the Kingdom of Christ, but I am reminded of this particular Carey quote: “I can plod. I can persevere to any definite pursuit.”

I don’t know if “plodding” is considered to be a spiritual gift, such as the gifts of mercy, giving, evangelism, administration, and the like, but, if it is, then maybe that is my one spiritual gift. I have managed, by God’s grace, and by His power, and hopefully to His glory, to plod my way through 500 blog posts. Hopefully He will allow me to continue. I give Him all honor, credit, and praise, in the Name of His holy Son, Jesus, for allowing me to be a steward of what I consider to be His blog, The Deep End. For anything good or encouraging or helpful that has come of it, all glory must go to Him alone.

I say a special “thank you” to everyone who has stopped by to read a post from time to time, leave a comment, or to click a “share” or a “like.” Thank you especially to those of you who subscribe and/or read regularly.

One time, when I was in elementary school, one of my teachers explained to us what “alliteration” meant by using the example of former Vice-President Spiro T. Agnew. Apparently, he was prone to using strange little phrases of words that all started with the same letter. Referring to the media as “nattering nabobs of negativism” was the one my teacher used as an illustration, and for some reason, that phrase has always stuck in my head. When I am preparing to teach Bible lessons there are times when I am apt to attempt an alarming amount of alliteration. The purpose is that I find it to be a helpful mnemonic device which hopefully doesn’t make me seem like I’m trying to be too “clever” while I’m engaged in the serious business of Bible-teaching.

In honor of the occasion, I’m posting the links to the category, “A Little Alliteration,” for your reading pleasure, or as a cure for your insomnia – you decide:

1. Wholly Holy
2. Noisy Neighbors
3. Acts and the Apostles: Activated, Authorized, Audible, and Accountable
4. Friends or Foes?
5. Panicked Pressing

6. Naming Neighbors
7. From Power to Proclamation to Prayer
8. Pouting Pastoral Pathetic Pity Party Permanently Postponed
9. From Frequent Formal Faithful Following, Flows Full Foundational Fellowship
10. Preaching, Pressing, and Pushing On
11. Insincerity, Inaccuracy, or Incompletion?
12. Porcine Predilection Predates Powerful Prevailing Pardon, Prompting Personal Purity
13. Falling, Flooding, and Facing Facts
14. Lord, Leader, and Ladder
15. Comparisons, Calculations, and Christophany
16. Beware of Fabrics, Frolicking, and Friends
17. Rehearsing Repetitive Roman Reigns Really Recognizes Right Reckoning
18. Bold Mouths, Beautiful Fee, and Blindfolded Eyes (*)
19. Mysteriously Meaningful Marriage Part 1
20. Mysteriously Meaningful Marriage Part 2
21. Sacrificially Submitting Surrendered Sanctified Service
22. Doubtful Disputations Deter Doxological Demonstrations Displaying Desired Decorum
23. Leavnless Lump
24. Heaping Helpings of Holy Hatred? Or Refusing Revenge for the Right Reasons?
25. Saved, Sure, and Serving? Or Suspicious, Sedentary, and Slothful?
26. Preaching and Praying in Prosperity and Predicaments
27. Fresh, Frail, or Fruitful?
28. Prayer, Protection, Praise, and Posture
29. Indulgent, Incompetent, or Industrious?
30. Quick Quiz Quietens Questioning Qualms
31. Inhabiting and Investigating Your Marriage
32. Influence, Intercession, and Inheritance in Marriage
33. Delaying Dutifully During Deliverance
34. Scorn, Schemes, Scoundrels, Schizophrenics, and Scares
35. Learning, Loving, and Living the Word
36. Condemning the Princes, Prophets, and Priests
37. Clear Calls for Christians: Pure Upgrade
38. Clear Calls for Christians: Proper Unity
39. Clear Calls for Christians: Point Upward
40. Omniscience, Obstacles, Opportunities, and Overruling Oversight
41. Properly Promoting the Principle of Personal Property
42. Purity, Prayer, and Possessions 
43. Corrupt Curving off Course (Exodus 32:7-9)
44. The Meaning, Majesty, Ministry, and Maintenance of the Mediator (Hebrews 8)
45. Decrees on Discipline and Divorce (Matthew 18-19)
46. Unveiled Glory and Unguarded Giving (Exodus 34; II Corinthians 3)
47. Don’t be an Abusive, Angry, Absent, or Addicted Parent
48. The Problem with Popular Parenting (Genesis 21:1-11; Ephesians 6)
49. The Problem with Pecuniary Parenting 
50. The Problem with Petulant Parenting 
51. The Propriety of Paragonal Parenting 
52. No More Wondering, Working, and Waiting 
53. Forgiveness, Fulfillment, and Freedom (Mark 2-3)
54. Ministers Must be Managers (I Corinthians 4:1-5)
55. Ministers Must be Meek (I Corinthians 4:6-13)
56. Ministers Must be Mild (I Corinthians 4:14-21
57. Wise Watering (I Corinthians 3:5-6)
58. Winsome Weeding (Matthew 13:7-10)
59. Wary Watching (Luke 12:35-40)
60. Willful Waiting (Lamentations 3:25-26)
61. Disciples, Defilement, and Division (Mark 7)
62. Doubting Disciples Duped by Demonic Distractions (Mark 8:27-36)
63. A Pair of Paradoxes (Mark 10)
64. A Second Pair of Paradoxes (Mark 10)
65. Role Reversal Ransom (Mark 10:45)
66. Blind Beggar Boldly Beats Bandwagoners (Mark 10:46-49)
67. Adiaphora and Analyzing Ambiguous Activities (I Corinthians 10)
68. A Fawning Farewell (Exodus 12)
69. The Cause, Confusion, and Consequences: Problems with the Lord’s Supper (I Corinthians 11:17-30)
70. Designer Disaster and Divine Destruction (Jeremiah 6:1-5)
71. The Determination, Demonstration, Distribution, and Designation of the Spiritual Gifts (I Corinthians 12)

* most-read post in series

Doubtful Disputations Deter Doxological Demonstrations Displaying Desired Decorum

October 5, 2011 at 1:20 pm | Posted in A Little Alliteration, Romans | 14 Comments
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I find it easier to explain Romans Chapter 14 by skipping ahead just a little and looking at the very first Verse of Chapter 15:

We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.

Romans 15:1 (emphasis added)

The “then” means, “Considering what I just said…” Romans 14 deals with the problem of pleasing ourselves at the expense of others’ “infirmities.” Those who have infirmities are called the “weak in the faith.” How we treat our fellow Christians will be determined by answering the question, “Who do you love?” You are going to please those whom you love. Should you be trying to please the exuberant, loud, extroverted believers? Or should you try to please the mean, quiet, bored-looking believers? Those are overt questions, but they are only masking the real question: Am I going to please God, or am I going to please myself?

If you are a parent of siblings, then you know one of the most pleasing things you can experience is watching your kids “prefer one another.”

Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;

Romans 12:10 (emphasis added)

Similarly, God is pleased when, instead of a “me first” attitude, I have a “you go first” attitude toward my brothers and sisters in Christ.

Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.

Romans 14:1 (emphasis added)

When a fellow Christian is weak in the faith, we need to receive him – but not for the purpose of disputing with him over his personal convictions. Those who are counted as “weak in the faith” in this passage of Scripture are those who have trouble understanding their freedom in Christ. They think they’re more spiritual because of what they eat or drink (or what they don’t eat or drink) or because they keep certain days holy. Here are two misconceptions which are both dangerous ditches on the sides of the road:

Misconception #1: The rule-keepers are “better Christians.”

Misconception #2: Those who have personal convictions are “legalists.”

We must stay balanced on the road and not fall into either ditch. Here are some examples: I strongly prefer the King James Version of the Bible. It is the translation I study and the only one from which I teach in church. I believe it’s the one that everyone ought to use. That does not make me a legalist. I often wear ties, dress shirts, socks, and shoes to church. That does not make me a legalist. I have friends who use other translations of the Bible. I have friends who wear flip-flops to church. I have friends who wear leather motorcycle chaps to church. I have friends who don’t eat pork because it was forbidden to the Jews in the Old Testament. I have friends who enjoy few things better than killing a deer. I probably eat about a pound of bacon a week, and I wouldn’t shoot a deer unless it was attacking me. Which of us is the “weaker” Christian? I don’t know. But I do know we need to have Scriptural reasons for doing what we do, and, when we disagree on non-essentials of the Christian faith, we need to receive each other in Christian love.

What’s the reasoning for this “receiving in love?” Why is it a good thing to do?

1. God wants us to do it.
2. Ultimately, people are answerable to God, not to me.
3. No true Christian is an island unto himself.

For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.

Romans 14:7-8

I’m not your ultimate judge and you’re not my ultimate judge. In Christ, we are free from bondage, not enslaved to each other. We will give an account of our freedom one day – not to each other – but to Whom?

For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.

Romans 14:11

Notice that the verse does not say that every eye will wink, every hat will tip… No, it says the knees will bow and the tongues will confess.

If you are not in Christ Jesus, that verse should horrify you. On judgment day there will not be any mumbling about a lot of different ways to Heaven. No one will be saying, “You called Him Jesus, I called him Buddha, but it was all the same thing.” You will be face to face with the Christian God of the Bible and none other.

So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.

Romans 14:12

In a previous post, I addressed the truth that Christians are not free to sin. We are free from sin – from its power.

Let not then your good be evil spoken of: For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men.

Romans 14:16-18

The manifestation of freedom is not breaking rules. The manifestation is in joy in the Holy Ghost. Some Christians spend every day reviewing every little mistake and wringing their hands over how mad God is at them. We have to remind them over and over how nothing can separate them from the love of God. Little kids fight over the “last word” or whose “turn” it is. How freeing it is when we don’t feel the need to enforce our freedom! When we can enjoy the true freedom of letting our brothers and our sisters have “our” turn, or the “last word” if they want it. True Christians still battle with the flesh. The flesh will always have a tendency to look at something questionable, and ask, “Why can’t I do that? What’s wrong with it?” But the Spirit asks, “What’s right about it?”

Rehearsing Repetitive Roman Reigns Really Recongizes Right Reckoning

November 5, 2010 at 10:53 am | Posted in A Little Alliteration, Romans | 14 Comments
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God wants us to understand the significance of Adam’s one sin and Christ’s one sacrifice. Count how many times you see the Word “one” in Romans Chapter 5: Verses 12, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19. I believe there are eleven “ones.”

Now count how many times you see the Word “reign?” Verses 14, 17, 21, for a total of five “reigns.” The Holy Spirit is emphasizing and comparing Adam’s kingdom and Christ’s kingdom.

Now look for the Words “much more:” Verses 9, 10, 15, 17, 20, for a total of six. The blessings that were gained by Christ’s obedience are “much more” – or much greater – than those lost by Adam’s disobedience.

That is the key difference in what Christ did so that He was victorious, and what Adam did so that he was defeated: Obedience. Adam was DISobedient unto death, so we have to die. Christ was OBEDIENT unto death, so we can live.

Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:

Romans 5:20, emphasis added

This expression – “the law entered” – reminds me of the stage directions found in the manuscript of a play. (Falstaff enters, stage right.) The Law entered, like an actor, so that the Law could put on a show. It showed us how holy God is and how helpless we were to keep His commands in our fallen state. The Law is not “bad.” It is our schoolmaster – to bring us to Christ.

Pouting Pastoral Pathetic Pity Party Permanently Postponed

June 29, 2009 at 10:32 am | Posted in A Little Alliteration | 4 Comments
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When the children of Israel entered into the promised land of Canaan, the Lord divided up the land among the various tribes. However, He singled out one tribe to minister directly unto Him.

At that time the LORD separated the tribe of Levi, to bear the ark of the covenant of the LORD, to stand before the LORD to minister unto him, and to bless in his name, unto this day.

Deuteronomy 10:8

The tribe of Levi was to be “separated.” As the special priests and ministers unto the Lord, they were to be set apart by special ceremonial and behavioral rules from the rest of the people. They were supposed to live “different” lives. They were also set apart unto God, devoted totally to standing before Him, and to blessing His Name.

Wherefore Levi hath no part nor inheritance with his brethren; the LORD is his inheritance, according as the LORD thy God promised him.

Deuteronomy 10:9

While the other tribes enjoyed great material blessings and wealth, having been given bountiful land and opportunities for worldly prosperity, the Levites were to live a comparatively Spartan existence. Our spiritual leaders today often adopt a “woe-is-me” point of view concerning this aspect of full-time ministry to the Lord. They complain about members of their flock, who seem to be free from the inconveniences of daily ministry. For a church leader to say, “Oh poor me, I must spend time toiling in Bible study and care-giving visits, while my congregation can seek career advancement and material gains,” is to miss the point of the blessing of the tribe of Levi.

Sure, the other tribes had been given a great inheritance, but can there be any greater blessing than having the opportunity to devote one’s life to doing the Lord’s work on a full-time basis – of being free from the pressures that prohibit the lay-person from spending more time in personal worship with Christ, and from interceding on behalf of others directly before the throne of God? We must not make the mistake of feeling sorry for our spiritual leaders, nor must they make the mistake of wallowing in self-pity.


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