Monday, 31 December 2018

Christ's Unexceptional Childhood

Why aren't there any stories about Jesus as he grew up? Seems to me that these should have been recorded along with his three-and-a-half year ministry.

There are only two recorded incidents of Christ's childhood in the Bible. Matthew 2:19 and 20 (BBE) tells of Joseph's return to Israel after fleeing from Herod's murderous wrath into Egypt. "But when Herod was dead, an angel of the Lord came in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, Saying, 'Get up and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: because they who were attempting to take the young child's life are dead.'"

Luke also records an incident involving Jesus as a boy. That was when he turned twelve and went to the temple with his parents. But instead of joining them as they left Jerusalem, he stayed in the temple.

Luke 2:49   (BBE) records his reason for being apparently disobedient. "And he said to them, 'Why were you looking for me? was it not clear to you that my right place was in my Father's house?'"

This also shows that Jesus knew he was God's son. By calling the Lord his father, he acknowledged his deity.

But there are false accounts of Jesus' childhood which were penned about two-hundred years later. Scholars and church fathers have determined these to be fakes.

We can assume from the lack of stories of Christ's boyhood that he was well-behaved and without Adam's sinful nature. It would have been interesting to have known what his childhood routine was but the Holy Spirit felt we didn't need to know that trivia. We have what we have for our instruction in the faith.

I'll be writing more about our Lord and why we have the Bible books we have in my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? Liberal scholars assume that our Bible is unreliable but it's extremely accurate.

Though it might seem like a bad idea, I feel that we need to address the subject of hell next month. This too will be dealt with in my book next .

Saturday, 29 December 2018

Saturday Song: The Beach Boys, "Till I Die"

The harmonies and instrumentation on this Beach Boys song are beautiful but the message is sad. Are we really just corks on the ocean? Are we merely rocks in a landslide? Are we really just fallen leaves in the wind? According to Holy Scripture, we're so much more.

Listen to this song here.

From the start, we see that this world was made for us. Genesis 1:31 (KJV) says, "And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day."

And as the Lord pointed out many times in the scriptures, he loved Israel. Deuteronomy 7:8 (KJV) reads, "But because the LORD loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the LORD brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt."

The Father also gave us a choice to love him or to turn away. Look at what Paul wrote in Romans 6:22 (KJV). "But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.

Luke also showed us in Acts 1:3 (KJV) how Christ assured his disciples of the certainty of his resurrection. "To whom also he showed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:"

What abundant assurances we have that we follow no mere religious figure but the Son of God Almighty. And because he lives, we truly can face tomorrow like the hymn says.

On Monday, I'll post about the fact that certain writings about the life of Christ were frauds. Sad as it sounds, some scholars would rather believe lies than the unexceptional truth about our Lord's childhood.

Thursday, 27 December 2018

Death foretold

Along with the joy of the season, we also need to accept the fallen nature of this world. It would be wonderful if we didn't have to worry and feel sorrow but this is what we're stuck with.

It's sad but true that Christ's birth resulted in the death of children. This was foretold in Jeremiah 31:15 (KJV) which reads, "Thus saith the LORD; A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, and bitter weeping; Rachel weeping for her children refused to be comforted for her children, because they were not."

Matthew 2:16 (BBE) records how this slaughter happened. "Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, was very angry; and he sent out, and put to death all the male children in Bethlehem and in all the parts round about it, from two years old and under, acting on the knowledge which he had got with care from the wise men."

The death of Jesus was also foretold. In Luke 2:34-35 (BBE), we read, "And Simeon gave them his blessing and said to Mary, his mother, 'See, this child will be the cause of the downfall and the lifting up of great numbers of people in Israel, and he will be a sign against which hard words will be said; (And a sword will go through your heart;) so that the secret thoughts of men may come to light.'"

Christ's death was also foretold centuries before. Isaiah 53:8 (KJV) says, "He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken."

And in a pictorial way, Christ's substitution for sinful humanity was forecast in Genesis 22:13 (KJV). God told Abraham to sacrifice Isaac but the Lord also provided a substitute in his place. "And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son."

These types and shadows were meant to show the sinfulness of sin and the substitute who would live a sinless life and take our sins to the cross. I'll emphasize this point as well in my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? Only by understanding the horrific nature of our sin can we see the need for a saviour.

Monday, 24 December 2018

Before our Newborn King Arrived

I find it sad that many Christians get worked up about our Lord's birth BUT they pay little attention to God's preparation for this momentous event in human history. That's why I've been writing this month about the prophecies and deity of Jesus.

Luke's gospel fills in the details of this preparation. As with any ruler back then, a herald was sent ahead of royalty to announce their arrival. So it was with the King of Kings.

Israel's high priest at that time was given the news of this forerunner in Luke 1:13 (BBE). "But the angel said, 'Have no fear, Zacharias, for your prayer has come to the ears of God, and your wife Elisabeth will have a son, and his name will be John.'""

But John was no mere individual but the last of the prophets sent by God. Luke 1:15-16 (BBE) says, "For he will be great in the eyes of the Lord; he will not take wine or strong drink; and he will be full of the Spirit of God from his birth. And through him great numbers of the children of Israel will be turned to the Lord their God."

The angel also visited the young woman who would become Christ's mother. Luke 1:30-31 (BBE) says, "And the angel said to her, 'Have no fear, Mary, for you have God's approval. And see, you will give birth to a son, and his name will be Jesus.'"

Joseph also was told by an angel that Mary's baby wasn't the product of fornication but of the Holy Spirit. Matthew 1:20 (BBE) reads, "But when he was giving thought to these things, an angel of the Lord came to him in a dream, saying, 'Joseph, son of David, have no fear of taking Mary as your wife; because that which is in her body is of the Holy Spirit.'"

Neither was it an accident of history that the taxation of all Rome's colonies happened just as Christ was ready to be born. Luke 2:1 (BBE) states, "Now it came about in those days that an order went out from Caesar Augustus that there was to be a numbering of all the world."

How wonderful it is that nothing takes God by surprise. He planned out every detail of history to accomplish our salvation. I want to make people aware of this in my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? Some people actually believe that God is just making things up as he goes. Nothing could be further from the truth.

On Thursday, I'll post about how Christ's death was predicted centuries before his birth. New believers in Jesus need to know that it was no accident that the Lord was crucified.

Saturday, 22 December 2018

Saturday Song: James Taylor, "Fire and Rain"

Family-oriented holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas can be hard on people who lost somebody. All the happy wishes sound hollow when a loved one is missing from the traditional family gathering.

This song by James Taylor was written for a friend of his who died. Listen to it here.

And though we Christians miss our loved ones who are faithful and who God calls home, we know that we'll see them again someday. As the Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 4:13 (KJV), "But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope."

And as he explained in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 (KJV), "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

So, what do you think of this song and what I wrote. Please comment below. But if you don't want to, have a blessed Christmas. We'll all be together with our Lord someday.

On Christmas Eve, I'll post about the events leading up to Christ's birth.

Thursday, 20 December 2018

More Than a Prophet

Was Jesus just one of many prophets, as some folks believe? Certainly he did predict future events which came to pass.

Matthew 24:1 and 2 shows how our Lord foretold the destruction of the temple. "And Jesus went out of the Temple, and on the way his disciples came to him, pointing out the buildings of the Temple. But he, answering, said to them, 'See you not all these things? truly I say to you that here there will not be one stone resting on another, which will not be pulled down.'"

Jesus also predicted the swiftness of Jerusalem's destruction in Luke 17:31 (KJV). "In that day, he which shall be upon the housetop, and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back.""

But Jesus himself knew that he was no mere prophet in the long line of prophets. Matthew 12:42 (KJV) quotes him as saying, "The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here."

Jesus also told a Samaritan woman that he was the Messiah. When she asked about the saviour who would reveal all things, John 4:26 (KJV) says, "Jesus saith unto her, 'I that speak unto thee am he.'"

Christ also accepted worship, a blasphemous act if he wasn't the Son of God. John 9:35-38 (BBE) shows this plainly when a man healed of blindness bowed down to him. "It came to the ears of Jesus that they had put him out, and meeting him he said, 'Have you faith in the Son of man?' He said in answer, 'And who is he, Lord? Say, so that I may have faith in him.' Jesus said to him, 'You have seen him; it is he who is talking to you.' And he said, 'Lord, I have faith.' And he gave him worship."

We also notice that the Pharisees knew that Jesus called himself God's son. John 10:33 (KJV) gives the reason for their accusation. "The Jews answered him, saying, 'For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.'"

Because Jesus truly is God, along with his Father and the Holy Spirit, we can trust fully in his words. I'll emphasize that in my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? Being divine, Christ is the ultimate authority on who goes to heaven and who doesn't.

On Saturday, I'll post a sad song by James Taylor. This is the wrong time of year for that but tragedies happen to us without regard to holidays.

Monday, 17 December 2018

A High Priest From Birth

It might seem strange to some folks but Jesus was born into the office of high priest. The job of that man in Israel was to bring the blood of the sacrifices for sin into the temple's holy of holies.

This is what Jesus did when he was born, lived a sinless life, and offered his life as a ransom for us. Hebrews 9:14 (KJV) speaks of this much greater sacrifice. "How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?"

Christ could have had honour and praise in this world but he set it aside so that we would be saved. Matthew 20:28 (KJV) quotes him as saying, "Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many."

Hebrews 2:17 (KJV) explains why Christ also set aside his heavenly prerogatives. "Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people."

Better still, Christ understands our weaknesses. Hebrews 4:15 (KJV) explains, "For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin."

Jesus was born to be our priest between God and us. Hebrews 10:10 (KJV) says, "By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all."

We know this is true from what Hebrews 10:5 (KJV) says. "Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, 'Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me:'"

What a wonder it is that the second member of the Trinity became a baby and experienced all the things we do in this life. But this person wasn't just a nice man who preached about people being nice to each other. I'll be writing about his kingship and priesthood in my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? The world thinks of Christ's incarnation as a quaint holiday story but we know differently.

On Thursday, I'll show that Christ was no mere prophet. Muslims and liberal Christians think so but the Bible says otherwise.

Saturday, 15 December 2018

Saturday Song: Gladys Knight and the Pips, "Midnight Train to Georgia"

I can't help but love this song. The woman in it is so loyal to her man that she'd rather live in his world than live without him in hers. It shows a love that's deeper than affection for one's home and friends.

Listen to this song here.

We have a great example of this sacrificial love in the Bible. Ruth 1:16 (KJV) reads, "And Ruth said, 'Entreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:'"

Naomi and her husband left Israel because of a severe drought. Her sons married women of Moab, one being Orpah and the other Ruth. When the drought ended, Naomi wanted to return to Bethlehem but she didn't want her daughter-in-laws to follow her. Orpah went back but Ruth traveled to Naomi's homeland. As a result, she became part of the lineage which brought Christ into the world.

Furthermore, we see right from the start that the Bible is clear about a man and a woman marrying for life. Matthew 19:5 (KJV)quotes Jesus, "And said, 'For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?'" This was in regard to a question from the Pharisees about divorce.

Of course love must work both ways, Paul wrote in Ephesians 5:25 (KJV), "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;"

I hope you enjoyed this song and what I wrote. Please leave me a comment if you want to.

By the way, Monday's post will be about Jesus as the ultimate high priest. I'll also explain why we need him to advocate for us.

Thursday, 13 December 2018

God in a Baby?

 What a mystery it is to many people that God was incarnated into a human zygote. Non Christians mock that truth, as do various cults. Even Islam claims that Jesus was just the "son of Mary."

But the Apostle Paul shows that the Christ truly came from God because he was a member of the Trinity. Philippians 2:5-7 (KJV) reads, "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:"

And as I pointed out previously, Jesus was part of the lineage of King David. Hebrews 2:16 reads, "For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham."

Furthermore, Christ came to save all who would believe in him. In Matthew 1:21 (KJV) Gabriel told Joseph what name to call his son and why he would be born. "And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins."

Romans 8:3 (KJV) also shows why just keeping the commandments wasn't enough to save us. "For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:"

We also have testimony from Jesus himself that he came to save those who would follow him. John 3:18 (KJV) quotes him as saying, "He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."

I should explain for those who might not know this that the term "Son of God" doesn't mean that Mary had sexual relations with anybody. Islam denies the virgin birth because Muhammad and his followers couldn't accept that Christ was born without a human father. We don't know how but the Lord created in Mary's womb the zygote which became Jesus.

Because people lack understanding of biblical terminology, they invent errant doctrines. I hope to deal with those in my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? So many mistaken ideas would never be taught if people would take time to study the reasons for titles like Son of God and heavenly Father.

On Saturday, I'll post about a song popular in 1973 and how it reminded me of a certain daughter of a widow in the Bible.

Monday, 10 December 2018

The Prophecies of the Prince

New believers in Christ might not know this but the life of Jesus was predicted long before he was born. Even the location and circumstances of his birth were predicted centuries before Mary and Joseph became betrothed to each other.

Isaiah 9:6 (KJV) is perhaps the most descriptive of these prophecies. "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace."

This verse also shows Christ's deity as "mighty God." The next time Jehovah's Witnesses confront you, direct them to this verse which shows that Jesus IS God.

Isaiah also foretold how Christ would be born of a virgin, something biologically impossible by human means at that time. Isaiah 7:14 (KJV) reads, "Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel."

And here's another verse to show Jehovah's Witnesses. Matthew 1:23 (KJV) states plainly that Jesus was, is, and always will be divine. "Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us."

We also find Christ and his birth place mentioned in Micah 5:2 (KJV). "But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting."

But not everybody realized who Christ was. His coming from Nazareth confused some Judeans. As John 7:42 (KJV) quoted them as saying, "Hath not the scripture said, That Christ cometh of the seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem, where David was?"

The fact that so many ancient prophecies were fulfilled with such exactness proves the Bible's accuracy. This is one point I'll stress in my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? Many nominal Christians and cults claim the Bible was tampered with but these prophecies and the Dead Sea Scrolls prove that it came down to us intact.

On Thursday, I'll post about the wonder of God becoming a human. Many religions and sects don't except this but it's true.

Saturday, 8 December 2018

Saturday Song: Elton John, "Empty Garden"

December 8, 1980 was an ordinary evening for me. I had no idea that while I was at the Full Gospel Business Men's Fellowship dinner in Edmonton, John Lennon fought for his life in New York City. Not only was I oblivious about his death but I didn't know it happened until I bought a news paper the next morning.

Elton John summed up all of our feelings the next year with his song called "Empty Garden." That line about one insect destroying so much grain described the situation well.

Listen to this tribute to John Lennon here.

According to many people these days, it's the availability of guns that's the problem. They claim that if there were no guns, nobody would die. But we see that in lands where guns are tightly restricted, criminals steal or smuggle them in.

The real culprit is the human heart. Jeremiah 17:9 (KJV) puts the situation bluntly. "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?"

Only God knows the depths of human depravity. As Jeremiah 17:10 (KJV) explains, "I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings."

We can't blame our environment or upbringing either. Look at what Scripture says in Ezekiel 18:20 (KJV). "The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him."

Neither will banning guns help. Wicked people will just find other weapons to commit murder with. The real problem is spiritual, not material. Ephesians 6:12 (KJV) declares, "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

So, what are your memories of that tragic evening when John was murdered by a mentally disturbed man? Let me know.

By the way, Monday's post will be about the prophecies of Christ's birth. This is one of many proofs of the Bible's veracity.

Thursday, 6 December 2018

Through Isaac, the Seed Was Promised

As I've written before, Arabic Muslims believe they're the special people because they descended from Ishmael. While Abraham did father two boys, only Isaac was the one who was the child of promise.

We see God's declaration of this in Genesis 21:12 (KJV), as it is written, "And God said unto Abraham, 'Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called.'"

But the word "seed" is singular, not plural. Look at what Paul wrote in Galatians 3:16 (KJV). "Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, 'And to seeds,' as of many; but as of one, 'And to thy seed,' which is Christ."

We see our position as heirs of the promised Messiah declared in Galatians 4:28 (KJV). Paul wrote, "Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise."

But does this apply to us today? Paul also obliquely referred to all the faithful in Christ. Romans 9:7 (KJV) reads, "Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called."

And because of Christ, we too are heirs by faith. As Paul wrote in Galatians 6:16 (KJV), "And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God."

Though Abraham had a sun through his slave Hagar, it was God who caused the miraculous birth of Isaac. Hebrews 11:11 (KJV) explains, "Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised."

Trusting completely in the salvation provided by God is the main theme of my upcoming book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? Only by faith, meaning total trust, will anybody be saved. I keep having to make this point because it's counterintuitive to human nature.

By the way, Saturday's song will be about gun control and why it doesn't work.

Monday, 3 December 2018

The Messiah Saga Begins

I'm sure we've all heard the Christmas story so many times that it becomes stale. In fact, I've found that familiarity with our Lord's birth has bred contempt among many of my friends. What most Christians don't appear to know is that the beginning of Christ's story starts at the beginning of the Bible.

When Adam and Eve defied God's only restriction on them, he cursed both them and Satan but he also gave a promise of a deliverer. Genesis 3:14 and 15 (KJV) reads, "And the LORD God said unto the serpent, 'Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.'"

Furthermore, Eve rejoiced when she gave birth to her first baby boy. Genesis 4:1 (KJV) reads, "And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, 'I have gotten a man from the LORD.'"

John MacArthur said in one of his sermons that Eve thought Cain would be the one to crush the serpent's head. Instead, her boy became the world's first murderer. As Christ's favourite disciple wrote in 1 John 3:12 (KJV), "Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother's righteous."

As history proved, the promised one was to come thousands of years later. I'll be pointing out more details about the long journey to the arrival of the Messiah in future posts.

The theme of our fallen nature will be the main point of my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? It's this fallen nature that we all inherited which makes it impossible for us to earn our own salvation. Only repenting and forsaking our own rebellious desire for autonomy will get us into the kingdom of heaven.

On Thursday, I'll post about the continuing saga of Christ's lineage and how Muslims claim they're superior to us.

Saturday, 1 December 2018

Saturday Song: The Electric Light Orchestra, "Evil Woman"

As with men, there are righteous and wicked women. Perhaps the most pathetic relationship is a cunning woman enticing a foolish and young man. Many times, people need to learn the hard way.

Listen to this Saturday's song here.

King Solomon wrote about a wicked and careless woman luring a foolish man into her lair. Proverbs 9:13-18 (KJV) says, "A foolish woman is clamorous: she is simple, and knoweth nothing. For she sitteth at the door of her house, on a seat in the high places of the city, To call passengers who go right on their ways: 'Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither:' and as for him that wanteth understanding, she saith to him, 'Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.' But he knoweth not that the dead are there; and that her guests are in the depths of hell.

In this proverb, the woman was foolish because sin always leads to hell. The man was foolish for figuring he could get away with joining in her sin.

The way to turn and go God's way is expressed in Psalms 111:10 (KJV). "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever."

We all must heed the Lord's command in Ezekiel 33:11 (KJV). "Say unto them, 'As I live,' saith the Lord GOD, 'I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?'"

I hope what I've written will cause people to do a spiritual U-turn. That's what the Lord wants. How wonderful it is that he doesn't take pleasure in the destruction of sinners. We'd all be dead if that were the case.