Nuggets – Offering Willingly

Offering Willingly
“Then the people rejoiced, for that they offered willingly, because with perfect heart they offered willingly to the LORD: and David the king also rejoiced with great joy.” (1 Chronicles 29:9)

As the people brought gifts for the construction of the temple in Jerusalem, it is mentioned no less than six times in this chapter that their offerings were willing offerings (once in verses 6 and 14, twice each in verses 9 and 17). In fact, they were not only willing but also joyful in their giving.

Joyful giving is not the usual response to a fundraising effort for a religious cause. The great proliferation of causes today—not only for churches but for multi-church or para-church projects, usually associated with high-pressure solicitations by professional money-raisers—has developed a growing cynicism in Christians toward all such appeals.

That is not the way it should be, “for God loveth a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7). The churches of Macedonia, though going through “a great trial of affliction” and in “deep poverty,” nevertheless “abounded unto the riches of their liberality,” and they did so in “the abundance of their joy” (2 Corinthians 8:2). What made the difference was that they “first gave their own selves to the Lord” (2 Corinthians 8:5).

No doubt another vital factor leading to the joyful offerings of the people for the building of the temple was the example set by David’s great personal joyful generosity, followed by that of all the other leaders of Israel (1 Chronicles 29:3-8). This encouraged the people also to give “with perfect heart” (today’s verse). They had evidently, like the Philippians of Macedonia, also first given themselves to the Lord. David had led them by example, not coercion, reminding himself and his people as he prayed a prayer of thanksgiving that “all things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee” (1 Chronicles 29:14). HMM

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I don’t want to be a Christian.

So you call yourself a Christian. What does that mean?

What is a Christian? Can you define what one is? Can you define what you are? If someone walked up to you on the street and asked you why you think you are a Christian, what would you tell them?

If you Google “Christian” you’ll get more than 25 million hits and enough definitions to fill a dumpster.

We must have plenty of Christians though. Despite a cargo ship of definitions of what a Christian is, according to a 2009 Gallup poll78% of the U.S. population says they are Christians. According to a2010 Gallup poll 43.1% of Americans report, “weekly or almost weekly church attendance.”

Some Catholics I know say they’re Christians. Some who believe in abortion claim to be Christians. A few folks who call themselves Christians believe you can lose your salvation. Other denominations believe they are the only ones going to heaven. Some denominations believe you have to be baptized to be a Christian. They believe if you’re not baptized you’re not saved, ergo you’re going to hell. Some homosexuals call themselves Christians. Some folks who call themselves Christians believe it’s a sin to hold worship with an orchestra or band. Some folks who call themselves Christians believe the only true Scriptural truth is in the New Testament and the Old Testament is irrelevant.

We Christians are all over the board when we try to define who and what we are.

Here’s a definition for you:

“Christians are  judgmental, homophobic moralists who think they are the only ones going to heaven and secretly relish that everyone else is going to hell.”¹

Does that describe you? Or a friend? Or maybe it describes someone you know who hates Christians.

We could go to the Bible for some help defining what a Christian is. That presents a problem, though, because the word Christian appears only three times in the Bible (KJV)†

The Gentiles and Jews who followed Jesus and believed His teaching did not call themselves Christians. In fact the ones who used “Christians” to describe Jesus’ followers used the word to insult or demean Jesus’  followers. The ones outside looking in were the ones who called them Christians.

Let’s see if God’s word can help. In Matthew 28:19 does God’s word say, “Therefore go and make Christians of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit?”

Not in my Bible.  My Bible says, “Therefore go and makedisciplesof all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” NASB

In John  13:34-35 does God’s word say, ““A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are Christians, if you love one another.”?

Not in my Bible.  My Bible says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” NASB

Now there’s a word we can get our arms around–disciple. Nice uncomplicated definition too: “One who embraces and assists in spreading the teachings of another (In our case, Jesus). A follower, a pupil, an adherent, a learner.”  According to the OED the word disciple comes from the Latin word, discere “to learn”.

Now that’s what I’d like to be called, “a disciple.” Remember John 13:35? Jesus teaches us, “As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Love one another. If we love one another we are true disciples of Jesus. “Love one another” skirts every single complicated nuance about what it means to be a Christian.

But, my neighbor throws his garbage in my yard. . . .Love one another.
But, my boss hates Christians . . .Love one another.
But, I caught my husband in bed with another woman . . .Love one another.
But she physically abuses her children . . .Love one another.
But my nephew owes me a thousand dollars and he won’t pay me back. . .Love one another.
But they broke into our home and stole all our money. . .Love one another.
But she’s an atheist and ridicules me constantly. . .Love one another.
But our son is on drugs and steals to support his habit. . .Love one another.
But my marriage is falling apart . . .Love one another.

We show how much we love Jesus when we love one another.
We preach better sermons than our pastor when we love one another.
We witness to non-believers when we love one another.
We develop brothers and sisters in Christ when we love one another.
We show ourselves to be Jesus’ disciples when we love one another.

Yeah, I think I want to be a disciple.

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All God’s people – Oceans will part

We serve a miracle working God

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Nuggets – The Face of Jesus Christ

The Face of Jesus Christ
“For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” (2 Corinthians 4:6)

The light that shines in the soul of a lost sinner when he first comes to know Jesus Christ can only be compared to the light that Christ called forth on Day One of the creation week. We met this God of glory spiritually when we first beheld in our hearts the face of Jesus Christ.

But the face of Jesus Christ was not always deemed so glorious. We read of a time when ungodly men “did . . . spit in his face” (Matthew 26:67), then took a blindfold “to cover his face” (Mark 14:65), and finally with a rain of terrible blows “struck him on the face” (Luke 22:64). Once His “countenance [was] as Lebanon, excellent as the cedars” (Song of Solomon 5:15), but when they finished their assault, “his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men” (Isaiah 52:14).

“The face of the Lord is against them that do evil” (1 Peter 3:12), however, and the time is coming very soon when all those who have turned their faces from Him will call “to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb” (Revelation 6:16). When finally they will have seen the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ in all its consuming strength, not even the world itself could stand, “from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away” (Revelation 20:11).

For those who have looked on Him in faith, however, this will not be a time of judgment but blessing, for “they shall see his face” (Revelation 22:4). The face of Jesus Christ, fierce as devouring fire to those He must judge, is glorious in beauty and love to those who believe. HMM

From the Institute for Creation Research

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Every Word

Talk is cheap. What is your walk like?

THE RIVER WALK

memorizing

Anyone who doesn’t love me will not obey me. And remember, my words are not my own.
What I am telling you is from the Father who sent me. (John 14:24)

Read: Matthew 12:1-21, Mark 2:23 – 3:6, Luke 6:1-11, John 5:1-47

Relate: In sixth grade I played the lead role in our school’s smash hit, Fat Fat Jehosophat. I’m serious. Hey, stop laughing. The play was amazing and we played to an awed and enthusiastic audience who were wowed by our talent. Especially the talent of it’s leading star.  This was the beginning of an incredible acting career. The stage had been waiting for someone with my genius and ability to come along. At least that is what I thought.

The problem is, my dad managed to capture the entire thing on video camera. Apparently he cared as little for copyright laws as I do. Afterwards I had to opportunity…

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Cause For Immediate Prayer

2016-09-19-12-50-02-1942665991

In the last four days Continue reading

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Playing with Heart

The beginning of softball season is always an exciting time around our house, but in recreation league, there is always a bit of uncertainty mixed in as well. Unlike school-based or travel sport’s teams where the players and coaches stay fairly consistent from year to year, in a Rec League the kids are assigned in an almost random fashion creating completely different teams with different coaches every season.

Rockdale Christian Youth Sports League

Rockdale Christian Youth Sports League

Of course there are always many familiar faces, but the way the the groupings coalesce can vary widely. That means, sometimes you are placed on a team with powerful and talented kids that immediately gel together, and sometimes you aren’t.

This fall, we aren’t.

Continue reading

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All God’s people – Mighty to save

No matter who – He is mighty to save

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Nuggets – Sealed by the Holy Spirit

Sealed by the Holy Spirit
“In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.” (Ephesians 1:13-14)

From very ancient times it has been the custom to confirm and guarantee an agreed-on purchase by sealing the contract with a seal that could only be broken by the buyer when he was ready to take possession of his purchase.

The marvelous transaction seen by John at God’s throne in heaven was in reference to this practice. There, only the Lamb is found worthy to open the seven-sealed scroll on which is recorded the title to the whole creation. “And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the [scroll], and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood” (Revelation 5:9). The purchase price had been paid on Calvary, and the resurrected Lamb had come to claim His possession.

And we are part of that possession! The price has been paid for our redemption from sin’s bondage, but we have not yet entered on the inheritance which our great Redeemer has promised us. In the meantime, our individual title deed, as it were, has been sealed by none other than the Holy Spirit. He is not only the seal, but also the “earnest”—that is, the down payment, the earnest money—who guarantees the total “redemption of the purchased possession.”

His personal presence in our lives is our assurance that the full promise will be fulfilled, and we are urged to “grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption” (Ephesians 4:30). He “hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts” (2 Corinthians 1:22). HMM

From the Institute for Creation Research

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Nuggets – The Lord Jehovah

The Lord Jehovah
“Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation.” (Isaiah 12:2)

The English name usually written LORD in English Bibles stems from the Hebrew word Yahweh, the meaning of which cannot be fully put into words. Although scholars differ (some even claiming there is no real meaning to the word at all), the consensus is that it seems to be a compound of the three tenses of the Hebrew verb “to be,” implying the ever-living nature of God to which Christ was referring when He said, “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty” (Revelation 1:8). Note also the similar implications in God’s announcement of Himself to Moses: “And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM” (Exodus 3:14).

On 49 special occasions (seven times seven), the name Jehovah is contracted to Jah. Many consider this to be an abbreviation of Jehovah, but no satisfactory explanation as to why it is so used has been offered. Perhaps a better suggestion is that this name is the present tense of the verb “to be,” and therefore the name Jah emphasizes the present activity of the Lord. In nearly all occurrences, the passages are strengthened by noting the present work of God. The first usage of the term Jah is found in Miriam’s Song upon deliverance from Pharaoh’s army and the Red Sea. “The LORD [Jah] is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation” (Exodus 15:2).

On several occasions, such as in our text, we see that the two names are combined, celebrating both the present and future deliveries of Jah Jehovah. “Trust ye in the LORD [Jehovah] for ever: for in the LORD [Jah] JEHOVAH is everlasting strength” (Isaiah 26:4). JDM

From the Institute for Creation Research

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