Nuggets – What Began at Philippi

What Began at Philippi
“Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi . . . Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:1-2)

The church at Philippi was birthed on one of Paul’s missionary journeys. He was summoned there in a vision by an unidentified man in Macedonia (now Greece) pleading for him to come and help them (Acts 16:9-10). Recognizing the call was from the Lord, he went immediately.

Paul’s European ministry began with the conversion of Lydia, who worshipped God and readily followed Paul’s teachings (Acts 16:14). Paul soon traveled to Thessalonica, Berea, and Athens, where he encountered much hardship and persecution. But the work he had begun in Philippi continued, eventually spreading throughout the continent. The intensely personal letter he later wrote to the Philippian church contains some of the most important doctrinal truths concerning Christ and our victorious life in Christ in all of Scripture.

God’s sovereign plan included Europe. He saw to it that the governmental roadblocks and personal opposition were ultimately unsuccessful. Today, many individual Christians trace their ancestry back to Europe. Great evangelistic movements and worldwide missionary efforts over the centuries have European roots. The God-ensured preservation of the Scriptures primarily occurred there as well. Many of the important Bible study tools and preaching helps come through the Western church. Many seminaries and Bible colleges, as well as hospitals and humanitarian efforts, stem from the Western tradition.

Today, great numbers are thankfully turning to Christ around the world, but much of the Church’s work began in Philippi as a faithful witness fearlessly and sacrificially preached the Good News of Jesus Christ. JDM

From the Institute for Creation Research

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Nuggets – The Unknown Creator

The Unknown Creator
“He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.” (John 1:10

This verse is surely one of the saddest, most poignant verses in all the Word of God. In the Lord Jesus Christ, our Creator/ Redeemer, “we live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17:28). The atoms of our bodies are sustained by Him (Colossians 1:17), yet multitudes ignore Him, ridicule Him, and take His name in vain. What presumption! What foolishness!

Once He even entered visibly into the world He had created so that people actually could hear His words of life and see His works of love. But they willfully refused to acknowledge Him, and then hung Him on a cross to die.

The height of irony and the depth of foolishness are reached when those whose very minds and bodies were created by Christ refuse even to admit the fact of creation. In effect, they turn Psalm 100:3 upside down and claim: “It is not he that hath made us—it is we ourselves!” Not only do modern men deny His creation, they also reject His salvation, thinking they can save themselves.

It is important to note that John 1:10 specifically refers to the refusal of the “world” to know Him as its Creator. It was made by Him but would not acknowledge His work of creation. How then could the world ever “receive” Him as its Savior (v. 11)? Only its Creator could ever become its Savior, since no one else in all creation was both deserving and capable of such a mission.

Even more inexcusable than those who rejected Him when He was here in the world are those who reject Him today. With all the marvelous evidences of creative design in nature as revealed by modern science, plus the unanswerable evidences of His own bodily resurrection from the dead, it is wicked foolishness for modern men and women still to reject Him as their Creator and Savior. HMM

From the Institute for Creation Research

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Nuggets – The Son of Thankfulness

The Son of Thankfulness
“And she conceived again, and bare a son: and she said, Now will I praise the Lord: therefore she called his name Judah; and left bearing.” (Genesis 29:35

This verse is the testimony of Jacob’s first wife, Leah, at the time of the birth of her fourth son. It also is significant in that it contains the first mention of the Hebrew yadah, often rendered “praise” but more often “thank” or “thanks.” In fact, she even named her son Judah, which is essentially the same Hebrew word.

Although Reuben, Simeon, and Levi were all older sons of Leah, God chose Judah to be the father of the tribe through which Christ would come into the world. Whenever Leah spoke to her son, she would actually be calling him “Thanks” and thus in effect remembering her gratitude for this gift of a special son.

We also continue to give thanks every day for that special Son of the tribe of Judah, the Lord Jesus Christ. And as Judah later was willing to offer his own life for his brother Benjamin (see Genesis 43:9) out of love for both his brethren and his father, so this distant grandson of Judah was willing to lay down His own life to save those whom He was glad to call His brethren (Hebrews 2:11-12).

In the last reference to Judah in the Bible, this son of Judah is called “the Lion of the tribe of Judah” who will one day be acknowledged as King over all the earth (Revelation 5:5). The last mention of “thanks” in the Bible is when the elders of the church in heaven cry out: “We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and has reigned” (Revelation 11:17).

We surely have much for which we thank God, but most of all we are thankful for the Son of God, our Creator, Savior, and coming King.

From the Institute for Creation Research

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REMEDY for a RAINY DAY

Altogether lovely!

Grandpa's Stories for Young Boys

This was the first winter in Springville for Bud and his family. They had never struggled through a “rainy season”. At least not to the degree that they found this January….after weeks of minor floods and power outages.

The problem was: how do you make seasons work for you?  Everyone knows how to use sunshine and snow…..He knew, having lived near the mountains where there was skiing and boarding, and living for a short time in the south, where there was plenty of sun and swimming.

He looked to the shelf above his bed at all of the books that he had been given to read when he was at loss for something to do. He thought; “That’s for days when I can’t get out and around.”

It was only this morning when his dad came home from a business trip, that the problem was addressed. After a large breakfast…

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New Year 2019 pt. 2

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What is my focus for 2019?
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Nuggets – Misuse of the Bible

Misuse of the Bible
“. . . his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.” (2 Peter 3:16

It is vitally important for every Christian to study and use the Scriptures, for they constitute our only real authority (note Matthew 5:18John 10:35; 14:26; 2 Timothy 3:15-172 Peter 1:19-21; etc.). In doing this, however, it is just as important that we not misuse the Scriptures, for this can be almost as dangerous as ignoring them altogether.

Many people twist the Scriptures, seeking to make them fit some opinion of their own, hoping thereby to give a pseudobiblical authority to their peculiar prejudices, instead of allowing the Lord to say what He means. Such distortion of Scripture has generated a plethora of cults and heresies—past and present. This was essentially Christ’s view of the Pharisees: “In vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (Matthew 15:9).

Similar—perhaps even worse—is claiming to receive new Scripture, or perhaps new (and authoritative) insight on existing Scripture. “Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it” (Deuteronomy 4:2). “Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar” (Proverbs 30:6).

Cults and heretics distort and supplement the Scriptures, but still deadlier are the liberals who try to explain away the Scriptures. “If any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life” (Revelation 22:19). This act of distorting and then denying God’s Word (“Yea, hath God said. . . . Ye shall not surely die,” Genesis 3:1, 4) was the very lie of Satan that brought sin into the world. No wonder the Bible warns so severely against it! HMM

From the Institute for Creation Research

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Nuggets – The Lord Our Shield

The Lord Our Shield
“But thou, O LORD, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head.” (Psalm 3:3

The beautiful metaphor of God as our shield, and our protector from evil, is used over 15 times in the book of Psalms, the first being in our text above. The very first time it is used in the Bible, however, is also the first time the word “shield” itself is used. That was the time when God assured Abram, after his battle with the armies of the northern kings: “Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield” (Genesis 15:1). This was a great comfort to Abram, there in the land of the Canaanites, where evil and enemies surrounded him on all sides.

But consider also a few of the many “shield” promises in the book of Psalms. One of the most beautiful and most uplifting is Psalm 84:11: “For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.”

And consider also this wonderful promise: “As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the Lord is tried: he is a buckler [same word] to all those that trust in him” (Psalm 18:30). In the same psalm appears this great testimony: “Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy right hand hath holden me up, and thy gentleness hath made me great” (Psalm 18:35).

Three times in Psalm 115 appears the injunction to “trust in the Lord: he is their help and their shield” (Psalm 115:9-11). Similarly, “thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope in thy word” (Psalm 119:114).

The final reference in Psalms to the Lord as our shield is “Blessed be the LORD my strength. . . . My goodness, and my fortress; my high tower, and my deliverer; my shield, and he in whom I trust; who subdueth my people under me” (Psalm 144:1-2). HMM

From the Institute for Creation Research

 

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Nuggets – The Gospel and Health

The Gospel and Health
“And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.” (Matthew 4:23)

This is the first mention of “the gospel” in the New Testament, and it is significant that Christ was emphasizing, first of all, the long-range future aspect of the gospel, the Kingdom. In that great day, all manner of sickness and even death itself will be eternally healed, when the earth’s age-long curse, pronounced originally because of man’s sin (Genesis 3:17), is finally removed (Revelation 22:3). As a token of this future deliverance, He demonstrated His power by supernaturally healing great numbers of needy people.

The next verse elaborates further on the ubiquity of His healing ministry—“all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatick, and those that had the palsy” (Matthew 4:24). No one was omitted. It was not a matter of only those who had faith, or those with psychosomatic ailments, or any other distinction. Everyone was healed of every infirmity of every kind!

Nothing was too hard for the Lord to cure—not even psychiatric disorders or demon possession. However, it was not that way later on in His ministry (e.g., Mark 6:5) nor in that of the apostle Paul (e.g., 2 Timothy 4:20) or the other apostles (e.g., Matthew 17:14-16). Evidently the tremendous scope of this initial healing ministry of the Lord was intended to serve as a type and promise of what will occur worldwide and eternally when His kingdom comes and His will is done on Earth as it is in heaven. In the meantime, this record serves to assure us all that He who came preaching the gospel of the Kingdom should indeed be received by faith right now as the great King of all creation! HMM

From the Institute for Creation Research

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Nuggets – The Angelic Shout

The Angelic Shout
“. . . when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” (Job 38:7

The phrase “shouted for joy” in this verse is actually a single word (ruwa) in the Hebrew, and it can carry a number of meanings. It is most frequently translated simply “shout,” as when the army of Joshua surrounding Jericho shouted and the walls fell down (Joshua 6:20). In Psalm 100:1, it is translated “make a joyful noise.” It can refer to a shout of alarm or shout of triumph, as well as a shout of joy, but it always refers to a loud shout. In fact, it comes from a root meaning “to split”—a noise that would split eardrums or shatter glass.

In the context of Job 38, the Lord is reminding Job and his friends of the great primeval event of creation. When the earth—which is destined eventually to house God’s throne in the eternal ages to come—was established on solid foundations (on the third day of creation), a resounding noise like mighty thunder—or, better, a gigantic angelic anthem— echoed throughout the universe. An “innumerable company of angels” (Hebrews 12:22), identified in the poetic structure of the Hebrew parallelism in our text as both “morning stars” and “sons of God,” shouted exultantly and sang in unison when the solid earth appeared.

The angels probably were created on the first day of the creation week, immediately after the creation of the universe itself. Even though Satan and other angels later rebelled against God, most of the angels still obey Him, and one day we ourselves will actually hear them singing His praises and shouting for joy when He returns to Earth (1 Thessalonians 4:16Revelation 4:9-11; 5:11-14; Psalm 148:1-6).

Therefore, “praise ye him all his angels: praise ye him, all his hosts” (Psalm 148:2). Someday, we shall join them in a “joyful noise” at God’s throne. HMM

From the Institute for Creation Research

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The Kingdom of Heaven: Revelation 20-22

Even so, come Lord Jesus.

Bible in a Year Blog

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On January 1 we will begin reading through the Old Testament and then the New Testament with daily posts to guide your reading. I hope you will plan to read through the Bible with me and invite your friends to do the same.

Today’s reading: Revelation 20-22.

Jesus’s resurrection is the beginning of God’s new project not to snatch people away from earth to heaven but to colonize earth with the life of heaven. That, after all, is what the Lord’s Prayer is about. ― N.T. Wright, Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church

“Where will my journey of faith take me?”

N. T. Wright’s words describe heaven’s invasion of earth. In one sense it began with Jesus’ ministry on earth. It intensified as the church spread and grew. It will be fully realized, the invasion will be complete, when earth is remade and…

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