Tuesday, March 30, 2010

God is GOOD^nth

I know we'll all say (and believe that) "God is good," or "praise God!"

But its in the moments that I'm floored by His goodness, literally overwhelmed by how He can be SO good - I'm talking like ridiculously, beyond generously and incomprehensibly good - that I feel He deserves a description that we don't use often enough. Gloriously incredibly awesome beyond all reason? That will have to suffice I guess.

Lord, are you serious right now? I'm blown away, yet again. I've trusted and I continue to trust, and it hasn't always been easy, and you know that is an understatement. But then you show me how You ARE so faithful, so trustworthy. I knew these things, but I know them more and more personally and I just end up sitting here in awe. So thank you Lord, again and again, every day, always, forever.

It's no one but the Lord who can change a circumstance, a heart, a situation, a life, a direction, whatever... in a matter of moments. Father I pray that you continue in all that You are doing and bring glory upon glory to Your name in the biggest brightest way! Your ways, Your plan are so perfect! I love You!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

A Form of Religion Without Any Power

We are called to worship God both in Spirit and in truth...

Knowing the Power of His Resurrection

Tim Keller

"But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith--that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead."

Philippians 3:7-11

I was watching a documentary recently on PBS and there was a minister who was asked, "Do you believe Jesus was raised from the dead?" And he responded, "The purpose and the personality and the power that was in Jesus continues, so that today he is a risen and living presence and possibility." What was he saying? He was suggesting that the purpose of Jesus lives on but that he is still physically dead.

But if Jesus' example lives on while he is really dead, you can only know him as an example. You can't talk to him, and he can't talk to you. If Jesus is not really living, he is not a living force who can come in and intervene in your life.

You will have a form of religion without any power.

But on the other hand, it is also possible to be orthodox about your belief in the resurrection of Jesus, but if you've never had a profound experience of that resurrection, your own spiritual resurrection, then you have a form of religion without power as well.

One one hand, the resurrection is a fact to be believed. On the other hand, it is an experience to connect with. If you have one without the other--if you believe in the resurrection as historical fact but never experience the resurrection personally, or if you think of the resurrection as a spiritual experience but don't believe it was a fact--you come out with a form of religion with no power.

My question is: Do you know them both? Do you believe in the resurrection as a historical event, and have you also had that profound personal experience of spiritual resurrection? Christianity refuses to be stuck in either category. It is not all about rationality, nor is it all about spirituality. It's both. On one hand, Christianity is about beliefs, proposition, and ethics. But that's not enough. You have to experience him to know him. There has to be a real connection. And on the other hand, Christianity is not only a spiritual religion. It's not like Eastern religions with no rational content. Christianity has hard edges to it. It says, "This is true, and this is false. This will get you saved. This will get you damned. This actually happened."...

To be a Christian is not just to believe in a set of propositions. It is that, but it's much more. It is to say,

"I count everything as loss or rubbish in comparison to my number one ambition, which is to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his suffering."
Paul is saying that if you understand the doctrine of the resurrection you don't just believe, you have a passion.

When I talk about having a passion for Christ, it might make you afraid that I mean you need to be a fanatic. Maybe you think, I had an aunt like that. All she did was talk about religion and the Bible and made everybody sick of it. That's not what we're talking about when we talk about a passion for Christ.

It's like my glasses. I don't spend all my time looking at and talking about my glasses. But I do spend all my time seeing everything through my glasses. And if my relationship between my and my glasses gets off, if they get too far down on my nose or get too dirty, it affects my perception of everything.

Likewise, a person with a passion for Christ is not necessarily always talking about Christ, but is looking at everything through Christ....

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Temple Mount Faithful

The following are excerpts from a statement released by an organization called The Temple Mount Faithful - a group Jews passionate about the 3rd rebuilding of the Temple happening now.

Be'esrat HaShem

With the help of G-d

The Temple Mount Faithful will march to the Temple Mount during Pesach, 1st April 2010, with the demand from the G-d and people of Israel: "Build the Temple of G-d now!"

The Temple Mount Faithful and Land of Israel Movement will march during Pesach, 1st April 2010, atop the Holy Temple Mount, calling to the Israeli government: "The G-d and people of Israel demand you to BUILD THE TEMPLE OF G-D NOW! There is no need to wait for the coming of the Messiah Ben David as He will come only when the Arab-Islamic enemy that desecrates G-d's Holy Hill is removed and the Temple is rebuilt. Do not fear any of your enemies. Trust in the G-d of Israel and His promises to His people at this critical time of the redemption of Israel."

The march will start at 11:30 am from the Jaffa Gate of the old biblical city of Jerusalem. At this place we shall demonstrate against the pressure coming from all the world, especially from the president of the United States, Barack Hussein Obama... We shall call to President Obama and to all of the others: "Take your hands off Jerusalem and the Holy Land of the G-d and people of Israel." We shall warn them with the Word of G-d:

"For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring back the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem, I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will enter into judgment with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and have divided up my land. And the L-rd roars out of Zion, and utters his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shake; but the L-rd will be a shelter for his people and a stronghold for the children of Israel. So shall you know that I am the L-rd your G-d dwelling in Zion, my holy mountain: then shall Jerusalem be holy, and no strangers shall pass through her any more." Joel 4:1,2,16,17

During this past week in the Old City of Jerusalem, Israel dedicated the Hurva Synagogue that was destroyed twice by the Arabs in the 18th century and again in 1948 and has recently been rebuilt. During the dedication, the Chief Rabbi of Israel, Rabbi Yona Metzger, stated that 'Israel does not want to rebuild the Temple'. This statement -- which does not represent the deep desire, the prayers and the decision of the people of Israel since the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE -- has raised-up great opposition in Israel today.

When we shall arrive to the Hurva Synagogue, whose rebuilding symbolizes the rebuilding of the Holy Temple of G-d, we shall read the Word of G-d especially to Rabbi Metzger and to the ears of Israel and the entire world:

"Thus speaks the L-rd of hosts, saying, This people say, The time is not come, the time that the L-rd's house should be built. Then the word of the L-rd came by Haggai the prophet, saying, Is it time for you, yourselves, to dwell in your well timbered houses, whilst this house lies waste? Thus speaks the L-rd of hosts, saying, This people say, The time is not come, the time that the L-rd's house should be built?. Thus says the L-rd of hosts; Consider your ways, Go up to the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house; and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, says the L-rd." (Haggai 1:2-4, 7)

... The Temple Mount and Land of Israel Faithful Movement will call from the Holy Temple Mount to everyone in Israel and the entire world to stand and to help the Faithful Movement of G-d in every way to immediately change this shameful situation on the Temple Mount and to immediately build the Holy Temple of G-d atop Mt. Moriah, the Holy Temple Mount of G-d in Jerusalem. Everyone is invited to participate in this extremely important, historical and godly event.

In G-d we trust!!

- The Temple Mount and Land of Israel Faithful Movement

For the full article, please click here.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Because I Love Her...

I made her... she is different. She is unique. With LOVE I formed her in her mother's womb. I fashioned her with great joy. I remember with great pleasure the day I created her. (Psalm 139: 13-16)

I love her smile. I love her ways. I love to hear her laugh. And the silly things she says and does. She brings me great pleasure. This is how I made her. (Psalm 139: 1-6)

I made her pretty and not beautiful, because I knew her heart and knew she would be vain....I wanted her to search out her heart and learn that it would be me in her that would make her beautiful... and it would be ME in her that would draw friends to her. (1 Peter 3:3-5)

I made her in such a way that she would need me. I made her a little more lonesome than she would like to be... Only because I need for her to learn to depend on me... I know her heart, I know if I had not made her like this she would go her own chosen way and forget me - her Creator. (Psalm 62:5-8)

I have given her many good and happy things... because I love her. Because I love her, I have also broken her heart... and the tears she has cried alone I have cried with her, and had a broken heart too. (Psalm 56:8)

Many times she has stumbled and fallen alone, only because she would not hold my hand. So many lessons she's learned the hard way because she would not listen to my voice. (Isaiah 41:13)

So many times I have sat back and sadly watched her go her merry way alone, only to watch her return to My arms, sad and broken. (Isaiah 65:2)

And now she is mine again...I made her, and then I bought her... Because I love her. (Romans 5:8)

I have to reshape and remold her... to renew her for what I have planned for her to be. It has not been easy for her or for me. (Jeremiah 29:11)

I want her to be conformed to My Image... this high goal I have set for her, because I Love Her. (2 Corinthians 2:14)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

When the perfect arrives, the imperfect will disappear.

I've been taking Greek so that I can better study the grammar and structure of Scripture. Today was our last day of class, and we each presented a 10 minute message on the verse of our choice. The following is what I presented, and I thought you might be blessed by it... a little exegesis action. :)

I Corinthians 13:10
The Glory of God

Paul is speaking to the Corinthian church. He just finished clarifying that the Spirit gives spiritual gifts in order to knit the body together, so they can build up and encourage one another in love. This church had become so wrapped up in the gifts that they were being practiced for selfish reasons, glorifying themselves or making themselves out to be extra spiritual.

Matthew Henry said: "Without love, the most glorious gifts are of no account to us, of no esteem in the sight of God. A clear head and a deep understanding, are of no value without a benevolent and charitable heart.This love is a clear proof of regeneration, and is a touchstone of our professed faith in Christ. In this beautiful description of the nature and effects of love, it is meant to show the Corinthians that their conduct had, in many respects, been a contrast to it. Love in its fullest meaning; true love to God and man, is an utter enemy to selfishness; it does not desire or seek its own praise, or honour, or profit, or pleasure."

In the verse I chose, Paul pulls together the work of the Spirit and the love for each other by refocusing their sight on the glory of God, reminding them that who they follow is beyond worthy of all the glory. In that light, he reminds them of his imminent return.

"but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away." (NASB)

"...but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears." (NIV)

In context:
(v.9) For we know in part and we prophesy in part,
we know = nosko - we perceive with certainty, we are aware of, we understand
prophesy = propheteuo - we speak with divine influence
part = meros - division, share, piece, portion

(v.10) but when the perfect comes*, the partial will be done away*.
when = hotan - whenever, implying hypothesis or uncertainty
the perfect/that which is perfect = teleios - complete in labor, growth, mental/moral character
comes = (see below)
the partial = the piece of understanding of him that we have
will be done away = katargethesetai/katargeo = rendered entirely useless/void

*COMES: elthE
3rd person, singular, 2 aortist, active, subjunctive
he/it, punctilliar (boom!) - reality of an action without emphasis as to elapsed time, second aorist = heightened expectation of something in the future, the subject performs the action, mood is start doing, begin
same as: erchomai and 2064
Thayers: equivalent to: come into being, arise, come forth, show himself, find place or influence

amplified: at the moment that He arrives and is from then on arrived

*WILL BE DONE AWAY: katargethEsetai
3rd person, singular, future, passive, indicative
predictive future - punctilliar action, being done by someone/thing, mood of reality as something really happening
same as: katargeo and 2673 - to render useless or unproductive, to make empty, to annul

amplified: at that moment in time it will absolutely be rendered useless by him who comes

Amplified Verse:
While we have some understanding of him now , and though we speak and walk and operate in the Spirit, what we have now is only a small glimpse of the overwhelmingly glorious perfection of the Lord. Whenever it will be that he finally arrives and reveals himself in all his fullness, our limited concept of who he is will be absolutely rendered useless by the completed intimate knowledge that he gives us.

While we are here in this life, we know that we should always be walking in the Spirit with our eyes set on God. We've heard that we should be keep our focus on spiritual things and not on worldly things. But even in our clearest sense of who we're looking towards, even in our most Spirit-filled moments, we haven't seen anything yet. His coming glory is so much more than our minds can fathom. Even bigger than the comfort we have that all things work together for good, and that He has a plan for us, is the knowledge that the source of all of these things is One who's nature is so good, so pure, and so holy, we can't even comprehend it. It puts things into perspective when we remind ourselves that we are going to live eternally with Him.

Cross References:
1Co 13:12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

2Co 5:6 So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, 2Co 5:7 for we walk by faith, not by sight.

Heb 11:1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

1Co 2:9 But, as it is written, "What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him"--

Job 26:14 Behold, these are but the outskirts of his ways, and how small a whisper do we hear of him! But the thunder of his power who can understand?"

Psa 40:5 You have multiplied, O LORD my God, your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us; none can compare with you! I will proclaim and tell of them, yet they are more than can be told.

that you, being rooted and grounded in love,
Eph 3:18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, Eph 3:19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

1Jn 3:2 Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.

Rev 21:22 And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb.
Rev 21:23 And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb.

Friday, March 19, 2010

A Simple Guide for Behavior

Don't pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults - unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. It's easy to see a smudge on your neighbor's face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, "Let me wash your face for you," when your own face is distorted by contempt? It's this whole traveling road-show mentality all over again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face, and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbor.

Don't be flip with the sacred. Throwing around the "right answers" with a shallow heart give no honor to God. Don't reduce holy mysteries to slogans. In trying to be relevant, you're only being cute and inviting sacrilege.

Here is a simple, rule of thumb guide for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them. Add up the word of God and the natural moral code and this is what you get.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

But why... does it matter if who god is to us is different?

Q: What makes you so sure your god's the right god? If there were any god at all? I'm not atheist; I believe this planet is my god. And it doesn't matter, I have nothing to lose. Who cares?

A: "The creation of the world shows God's invisible qualities-his eternal power and divine nature-they have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse."

God, my God, is revealed in every minuscule detail of life - nature, people, science, relationships, etc. He's confirmed who He is (and His nature) in His word - which is confirmed by history, archaeology, prophecy, biology, etc. And around and around we go. He has given us every opportunity to know exactly who He is and who He is not, so that "men are without excuse." All other "gods" have proven themselves false, while God, my God, cannot be defeated.

You said you have nothing to lose, but there is plenty at stake.
  • If I'm wrong, and there is nothing after this life, and no God, I lose nothing.
  • If you're right, you gain nothing.
  • If you're wrong, and what I've shared with you is true, you will have lost everything, eternally. You will have permanently separated yourself from the source of every pure, good, comforting, redeeming thing in this world, choosing instead a perpetual death.
You seem like you're convinced that God, my God, is not God. Therefore, no matter what I might show you, you will insist on interpreting it in a manner that aligns with your presupposition that god is whatever you decide him or it to be.

If I had a thousand eye-witnesses saying they saw Him, you'd say it was a mass hysteria. Even if I have incontrovertible evidence, your presupposition would force you to interpret the facts consistently with your presupposition and you would not be able to see the proof.

Just remember: Truth does not fear investigation.

But why... would I believe a fairytale?

Q: Why even believe the gospel? Haven't you heard? It's a fairytale, just some good brainwashing for a couple thousand years.

A: In terms of brainwashing, you're definitely onto something.

It is by none other than "...that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him."

He is the author of "...every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved."

Jesus said, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."

In all seriousness - I know you meant the other way around. And I understand where you're coming from, because I was an atheist for 23 years.

On the contrary, with what I know now, I am willing to stake my life on this fact - Jesus Christ is God in the flesh, and lived and died and rose again to set me free of the eternal punishment I deserved. And he did it for you, too.

Are you willing to stake your life on the idea that its a fairytale? Because that's exactly what you're doing.

But why... is your god better than any other?

Q: It seems like what you're saying is "my god's better than your god" when the reality is no god's better then any god. If people weren't so infatuated with a relationship with some magical all-knowing being, they would concern themselves with their relationships with other people and themselves. Why are you even telling me this, what's in it for you?
A: I'm not saying my God is better, I'm saying my God is God. If I say I'm 25, but you say I'm 22, can we both be right? No. To say that no god is better than any other is like saying I can be both 22 and 25 simultaneously. Two opposing "truths" can't both be true.

It's because I love God that I love other people. The love that the world shows is very shallow, very conditional love. The only way we can even know what love really is (unconditional, undeserved, self-sacrificial) is by knowing the Lord. I forgive much because I have been forgiven of an infinite amount. So in terms of concerning myself with relationships, I absolutely do. And it all flows out of the divine love that I've been given.

I'm telling you this out of that love. I don't know you, I don't know your past or your mind or your heart or even how many hairs you have on your head, but God does. My love for you is because He first loved me.

I know who I was before I knew Him and I shudder at how lost I realize now I had been. We are all broken, we all need a savior. We have one. I know Him.

Are there any who understand, any who seek?

I saw this little poem posted on a discussion board in a Facebook group, and this is how I responded. (The poem is in bold, my own comments are italicized.))

There are only two things to worry about.

Either you are well or you are sick.
Jesus said, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."

If you are well, then there is nothing to worry about.
Except that no one is well.
No one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the (moral) law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.

But if you are sick, there are only two things to worry about.
So then, we are all sick. We are saturated in sin.
Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, "The righteous will live by faith."

Either you will get well or you will die.
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ. He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities. The punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.

If you get well, there is nothing to worry about.
But all die. All die because all sin. Do you know anyone who has lived forever? I know One.
To you, Lord, I called, I cried for mercy: What gain is there in my destruction, in my going down into the pit? Will the dust praise you? Will it proclaim your faithfulness?

If you die, there are only two things to worry about.
Since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. In Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.

Either you will go to heaven or hell.
Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment is coming very soon. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water.

If you go to heaven there is nothing to worry about.
He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and his angels.

But if you go to hell, you'll grab a beer and meet up with your friends once you get there!
Everything you consider good (fun/comforting/pleasant) does not exist in hell. There are no friends, there is no beer. There is no life, only perpetual death.
I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

The Lord looks down from heaven on the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God.

Nebuchadnezzar, the ruler of Babylon - literally the ruler of all the world, came to know the Lord only after God "wooed him with suffering," as they say.
"Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, for all his works are right and his ways are just; and those who walk in pride he is able to humble."

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

But why.... would He want me?

Q: "I've heard that God loves me, more than enough times. But that doesn't make sense. If he actually knows everything, then he knows everything I've done. And he can't possibly want anything to do with me. If anyone should be destined for hell, it's me."

When you say you'd be the first person to go to hell - I know the feeling. I should, based on what I've done in my life, be the last person allowed anywhere near a holy God, let alone to call Him Father. The Apostle Paul said the same thing (the same guy who wrote most of the New Testament letters)

"Here's a word you can take to heart and depend on: Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. I'm proof - Public Sinner Number One - of someone who could never have made it apart from sheer mercy. And now he shows me off - evidence of his endless patience - to those who are right on the edge of trusting him forever."

The thing about us, as people, is that we have ALL sinned - every single one of us. Though from our human perspective, its easy for us to start comparing ("Yes I stole a sweater, but that guy in jail stole a car!") but to an almighty and purely good God, all sin is sin. It's all completely contrary to who He is by nature. Jesus Himself said that if you think lustfully about someone, you've already committed adultery; if you think of someone with anger and resentment, its as though you've committed murder. By those standards, it seems that we all deserve the death penalty - I have yet to meet someone who has never lied, cheated, stolen, lusted, envied, etc... and I know I never will. (Ok, well - until I go to heaven to be with Him at least)

That's exactly it. None of us is worthy, in any capacity, of the love that was so generously poured out for us. None of us had any hope of approaching a holy God with our sin-saturated selves. But because of His love, His GREAT love, He chose to suffer and die on our behalf, even though we were the ones who deserved it. And because He is the only one who had never sinned (not once, not a little bit) and didn't deserve even a moment of that punishment, He rose from death. And when we know Him, He takes our record with red ink all over it, and trades us for His clean record.
'Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, "The righteous will live by faith."' (Gal. 3:11)

But why.... does evil exist?

Q: "I know you say God is good, but there is so much bad in this world. It makes no sense why he would allow it if he's really in control. If he hates sin so much, why does he let people sin?"

A: Every good and perfect gift is from above. God is good to a degree that we can't fathom because no one and nothing else is so good. So its hard to understand why there is so much bad in this world, right?

It's about choice. Free will. You want Him to stop people from doing what they're doing - but do you want Him to stop you from doing what you're doing? Do you want Him to take control over you and make you like a robot?

And if you were a robot, capable only of doing exactly what He wanted you to do, where would the joy come from His having a relationship with you? Forced love is not love at all. He created you to know you, and even though we've messed that up royally, he took on our punishment because He wants so much to have a relationship with us.

So yes, He allows evil and sin. But all things are for His glory, and seeing how distorted the world is just shows the contrast between a holy God and a sinful human race.

The fact that you even recognize the difference between good and evil is yet another indication of who God is and that we are created in His image. Had we not been made in His image, we'd have no concept of it. Animals don't know morals. Animals know instincts and patterns. But human beings innately have a moral code written into their makeup. Sure, people break this code regularly (again, sin) but its not because they don't know its wrong. They either have to justify why it was a special circumstance, or make an argument (even just to themselves) that what they did wasn't really breaking the code. Either way, they are still naturally aware that there is a code to be broken - each of us has a conscience.

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Hurva Synagogue ---> Third Temple construction?

If you're someone who's interested in eschatology, you may find these things interesting.

I was reading about the Hurva synagogue (go here: Bible Prophecy in the News) which was dedicated today. A few different Jewish websites were talking about how significant it is, and how its resuscitation had brought about a revival in the Jewish faith... interesting right? And what is even more interesting: it was prophesied that upon completion of the third rebuilding of the Hurva Synagogue, the third temple would immediately begin construction. Crazy!

And on top of that, tomorrow is the (1st annual) International Temple Mount Awareness Day. It's also Rosh Chodesh Nisan - that marks not only the first day of the year and the first day of nisan, but also the day that the tabernacle in the desert was dedicated and the Shechina glory rested in the tabernacle.Nisan itself is seen as a month with a significant theme - new beginnings, rebirth, renewal, and redemption (it is the month that the Jews were brought out of Egypt, as well as the month that has Passover - the foreshadow of Christ's sacrifice on our behalf).

As the Temple Institute says on their website:
"Nisan is the month of Redemption, the month in which our forefathers were redeemed from Egyptian bondage. But the month is called so not only because of the upcoming Festival of Passover and our ancestors' passage from slavery to freedom. Tradition teaches that in the future, as well, the great and final redemption will take place in Nisan."
On a Jewish website where I found the info about Rosh Chodesh Nisan, they said that this day in the Hebrew calendar is specifically associated with this verse from Song of Solomon -

"May my Beloved come to His Garden, and eat of its Delightful Fruit - I have come to My Garden, My Sister, My Bride."

It seems that it is a pretty significant day. I'm not claiming anything big is going to happen. But its certainly something to consider... (Lord, come!)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Fellowship of the Unashamed

I'm part of the fellowship of the unashamed. I have stepped over the line. The die has been cast. The decision has been made. I'm a disciple of Jesus Christ. I won't look back, let up, slow down, back away, or be still. My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, and my future is secure. I'm finished and done with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tamed visions, mundane talking, cheap living, and dwarfed goals. I no longer need preeminence, prosperity, position, promotions, plaudits, or popularity. I don't have to be right, first, tops, recognized, praised, regarded, or rewarded. I now live by faith, lean on His presence, walk by patience, lift by prayer, and labor by the Spirit's power. My face is set, my gait is fast, my goal is heaven. My road is narrow, my way rough, and my companions few; but my Guide is reliable and my mission is clear. I cannot be bought, deluded, or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of the adversary, negotiate at the table of the enemy, or meander in the maze of mediocrity. I won't give up, shut up, let up, until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up, paid up, and preached up for the cause of Christ. I am a disciple of Jesus. I must go on till He comes, give till I drop, preach till all know, and work till He stops me. And when He comes for His own, He will have no problem recognizing me because my banner will be clear!

- Author Unknown
(this has circulated the internet and no one knows the author,
but I have a feeling they wanted it that way)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Lion and the Lamb

A few short lines of a poem occured to me this morning in the silence of my room as I was getting ready.

He came first like a lamb - humble and meek
His strength in surrender, though they saw it as weak.

He will return like a lion - mighty and strong
Righteous His roar, and justice His song.
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