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from glory to glory…

Archive for the category “Bible Study Reflections”

Early Edition…

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Lately, my husband and I have taken to watching a series on television entitled “Early Edition.” The series began airing in 1996 and lasted through 2000.  We enjoyed it 20 years ago, and now that it is airing again on Heroes&Icons TV, we are enjoying it again…

The stories are about Gary Hobson, a Chicago man who was fired from his job as a stockbroker, and then divorced by his wife for being uninteresting.” After starting a new job as the owner of McGinty’s Pub, he begins awaking every morning to the cries of an orange tabby cat at his door. The cat is delivering an unusual newspaper—it’s always tomorrow’s newspaper: hence, “Early Edition.” And it launches Gary into a daily adventure of warning others of deadly danger that awaits them in some location or activity in the city. Invariably his job of declaring the warning becomes a life-and-death mission to save them…

What makes the shows provocative is not so much the ultimate labors Gary undertakes to rescue the people, as his efforts to persuade the smug and the unbelieving that danger awaits them in a specific place at a specific time. His warnings of imminent danger go unheeded and are often rejected as folly by the people whose lives he desires to save…

Here’s another story from another very “early edition.” You could say that it is truly “tomorrow’s newspaper” today…

Beloved, I now write to you this second epistle (in both of which I stir up your pure minds by way of reminder), that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior, knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying,

‘Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.’

For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men…The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat: both the earth and works that are in it will be burned up…”

–2 Peter 3.1-7,10 NKJV

creation beauty

Why did God see fit to awaken me to “tomorrow’s news” today? Certainly to save me from the wrath to come; but not merely for me to absorb all the pleasantries of worldly life while I can, and not so that I can sit at my computer and write pleasant little “feel good” stories to share with those who love lullabies so they can go on sleeping…

Gary Hobson was always questioning why he was getting tomorrow’s newspaper; he was always searching for the source of the “Early Edition” delivered on his doorstep each morning by the orange tabby. The weight of accountability for Gary Hobson was nearly threatening to his own life until he met with the warning of his own death and nearly died saving the lives of two others. After that experience, he began embracing the gift and accountability which arrived at daybreak with the cat’s “meow…”

I know the Giver of the Early Edition on my desk as I write this; and I know His warning to me of the gift and the accountability I have in it…

If I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, in order to save his life, that wicked person shall die for his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand.”

–Ezekiel 3.18 ESV

Many scoffers will continue to scoff; but perhaps God will use this warning to awaken some from their slumbers to discover that the very God who will bring the wrath to come is also the very God who will save from that same wrath all those who trust in His Son Jesus, the Messiah:

For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures…”

–1 Corinthians 15.3-4 NKJV

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Another Day to Glorify the Lord Jesus…

Just thinking out loud…

Paul Witnesses to Roman LeadersI have been studying the Book of Acts with my friends at Community Bible Study, and this week’s lesson material is covering Acts 25-26. While examining the record of Paul’s defense before Agrippa in Acts 26 I read Paul’s opening statement:

“I consider myself fortunate that it is before you, King Agrippa, I am going to make my defense today against all the accusations of the Jews…” (vs 2).

One of the study questions asked: “Why do you think Paul considered himself ‘fortunate’ to be addressing Agrippa in his defense against the accusations of the Jews?”

This is not the first time in my studies of Paul’s life and witness that I have seen his total surrender to the love of the Lord Jesus Christ in all things. Paul’s life and ministry was both a physical and spiritual battleground every day of his breathing existence this side of Heaven. And still, he wakes up each morning with the expectation that he has another day to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ–because he loves Him more than all…

…(wait while I weep over my ambivalent, insipid commitment to Jesus)…

spiritual battleAnyway, not so very long ago, in another moment of awakening, I told the Lord that I want that same expectancy in my own life when I wake up every morning–another day to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ–in my own breathing existence this side of Heaven. And not very long after that, Satan went “nuclear” on me, mustering every weapon in his hateful arsenal to quench that desire… To be sure, it has been a battle of “operation desert storm” proportions in my life, because Satan is not having any of it…

But I wonder if Paul ever had periods of waking up dreading what he might face in his day–whether it be the physical taxing on his body to travel while in pain, or whether it be the undercurrent of dread at facing another mob bent on drawing blood… so much so, that his flame of gladness of glorifying Jesus gutters and flickers in the battles of each day; and that instead of jubilation, his heart is like a ship anchored and held fast to its mooring in Christ while yet battered from within and from without…

god-strength2That’s something of how I feel in my dusty existence this side of Heaven…But I know that Messiah Jesus fights for me, because I am alive today “fortunate” to have another day to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ in my own breathing existence this side of Heaven…

Thanking God that He who is in me is greater than he who is in the world, as it is written by another faithful one who loved the Lord Jesus:

Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”

-1 John 4.4

Why is it thought incredible by any of you that God raises the dead?…To this day I have had the help that comes from God, and so I stand here testifying both to small and great, saying nothing but what the prophets and Moses said would come to pass: that the Christ must suffer and that, by being the first to rise from the dead, He would proclaim light both to our people [the Jews] and to the Gentiles.”

–Acts 26.8,22-23

Glory to Thee, Lord Jesus!

Paul’s Letters: Courage for the Times…

Paul&TimothyReview of Paul’s Third Missionary Journey:  Acts 18.23-21.17

  • Overview of Paul’s route and cities of ministry: Acts 18.23; 20.1-16; 21.1-17
  • The difficulties Paul faced in Ephesus:
    • Acts 19.9: The rejection by Jewish leaders in the synagogue
    • Acts 19.23-30: The revolt by Demetrius the cult of Diana
  • The message Paul brought: Acts 17.2-3; 18.5,28; 20.21,25
  • Where Paul began his teaching in Ephesus: Acts 19.1-8
  • Where God moved Paul to teach in Ephesus: Acts 19.9-10
  • The work the Holy Spirit did in Ephesus: Acts 19.11-12,17-20
  • The treasure Paul carried in his ordinary body was the message of the Lord Jesus Christ in the Word of God—fulfilling what is written in the Law, the Psalms and the Prophets: Acts 20.20-21. He carried this treasure in a body that was often weak and tired and hungry and sick: 1 Corinthians 2.3; he may have had a troubling problem with his eyesight: Galatians 4.15.
  • Paul lived in a world like ours where he was surrounded by Jews and Gentiles who were disobedient to God and who worshipped false gods. He faced dangers and difficulties everyday: 2 Corinthians 11.23-27. But none of these things kept him from preaching the message of the Lord Jesus Christ: Acts 20.24
  • The Holy Spirit worked through his earthen vessel to work the greatest miracle of them all: changing the hearts of rebellious people to bow before the only true and living God. The act of the Holy Spirit was to awaken these darkened hearts to the message Paul was bringing…”and fear fell on them all, and the Name of the Lord Jesus was magnified…so the word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed” (Acts 19.17,20).

Stepping Stones to Rome – Acts 21.17-26.32

Paul in CustodyCourage In Jerusalem (10 days):

  • the attack on Paul by the Jewish leaders, and his confinement in jail; his escape from murder; escorted to Caesarea by armed Roman guards (Acts 21.17-23.33);
  • Paul’s witness of how God revealed the Lord Jesus to Him (Acts 22.3-21);
  • God’s encouragement to Paul (Acts 23.11)

Paul’s Witness In Caesarea:

Paul speaks to the Roman governor Felix, to the Paul Witnesses to Roman LeadersJewish leaders who follow him to Caesarea, held for two years in Herod’s Praetorium; speaks to Felix, Festus and to King Herod Agrippa and appeals to be heard by Caesar in Rome (Acts 23.34-26.32)

  1. To Felix:  “…This I confess to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect, so I worship the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the Law and in the Prophets. I have hope in God which they themselves also accept, that there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust. This being so, I myself always strive to have a conscience without offense toward God and men…But when Felix heard these things, having more accurate knowledge of the Way, he…commanded the centurion to keep Paul and to let him have liberty, and told him not to forbid any of his friends to provide for or visit him. And after some days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish, he sent for Paul and heard him concerning the faith in Christ. Now as he reasoned about righteousness, self-control and judgment to come, Felix was afraid and answered, “Go away for now; when I have a convenient time I will call for you.” (Acts 24.1-25)
  2. To Herod Agrippa and to Festus: Acts 26.2-23: “I stand here on trial because of my hope in the promise made by God to our fathers, to which our twelve tribes hope to attain, as they earnestly worship night and day. And for this hope I am accused by Jews, O king! Why is it thought incredible by any of you that God raises the dead? I myself was convinced that I ought to do many things in opposing the name of Jesus of Nazareth. …And…I persecuted them even to foreign cities. In this connection I journeyed to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests. At midday, O king, I saw on the way a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, that shone around me and those who journeyed with me. And…I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew language, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?’ …And I said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. But rise and stand upon your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness to the things in which you have seen Me and to those in which I will appear to you, delivering you from your people and from the Gentiles—to whom I am sending you to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.’ Therefore, O King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, but declared first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all the region of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance…To this day I have had the help that comes from God, and so I stand here testifying both to small and great, saying nothing but what the prophets and Moses said would come to pass: that the Christ must suffer and that, by being the first to rise from the dead, he would proclaim light both to our people and to the Gentiles.” (Acts 26.6-9,11b-23)

 

Paul on a Stormy Sea

On a Stormy Sea – Acts 27

 

Paul's Mercies at Malta

Mercies on MaltaActs 28.1-10

 

In Roman Confinement – Acts 28.16-31

“And when we came into Rome, Paul was allowed to stay by himself, with thePaul in Roman Confinement soldier who guarded him. After three days he called together the local leaders of the Jews, and when they had gathered, he said to them, ‘Brothers…I have asked to see you and speak with you, since it is because of the hope of Israel that I am wearing this chain.’ And they said to him, ‘We…desire to hear from you what your views are…’ When they had appointed a day for him, they came to him at his lodging in greater numbers. From morning till evening he expounded to them, testifying to the kingdom of God and trying to convince them about Jesus both from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets. And some were convinced by what he said, but others disbelieved…He lived there two whole years at his own expense, and welcomed all who came to him, proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance.” (Acts 28.16-17,20,21,22,23-24,30-31)

Reflection and Prayer

1 Thess 5vv16-18As I meditate on the Apostle Paul’s exciting journey to Rome, I pray courage for the Body of Christ in the shipwreck of this land, and for those who experience the grace of God in their unbelief only because they are in this shipwreck with us who know the matchless grace of God through our Lord Jesus Christ…

Father, Your servant Paul and our brother endured many dangers, difficulties and sorrows to bring Your Word to all the lands where You drew him to witness the Lord Jesus Christ. His faithfulness has multiplied Your Name and Your Kingdom to reach the peoples who came to this land. I praise You and thank You, Lord, for Your great grace in blessing my life to see the Truth You shared with Your servant Paul.

Father, I ask now, in this place where I reflect on Your goodness, grace and purpose, that Your Spirit would strengthen the Body of Christ in this land, as we face the shipwreck that looms in our journey toward Jesus’ return. As Paul spoke courageously to the captain and crew of the vessel he occupied to Rome, let us speak courageously to those who occupy this American Ship in the same way: if they all will trust in the God in whom Paul trusts and teaches to this day in Your Word, not one will perish–only the ship will be broken.

Lord, protect the Body of Christ in this land from fear and anxiety and discouragement in this storm we face; give us the voice and bold kindness You gave our brother Paul who spoke the Truth to those who enjoyed Your grace because he was in the ship with them, although they had not yet embraced Your Truth. As Paul did, so help us redeem the time on this journey, that Your Name and Your Kingdom would be magnified and exalted.

Whose Kingdom?

We’ve been called to have dominion over the earth to the glory of God, but we want dominion for the glory of man. That’s what was going on at Babel—a distortion, an evil twisting of the legitimate task that God had given mankind.”

–R.C. Sproul

Our Story by R. C. Sproul

Go ahead! Read the link above; and then, I have some thoughts of my own to share… 


Shared this a year ago on my Facebook page. At that time, America was approaching a huge decision in its democratic privilege to choose leaders in the Executive and Legislative Branches of our government–which, in turn, would affect the choice of leaders in our Judicial Branch of government…

…As I have been reviewing 1 Kings 11 and 12 in my studies of last week. All about how king Solomon’s sin tore the kingdom apart and the life which the people of Israel faced in the wake of Solomon’s death…

Two men in the wake of Solomon’s reign: Rehoboam his son; and Jeroboam his servant. Two men who would not hear wise counsel.

Rehoboam rejected the wisdom of his father’s elders, but intensified his father’s oppression. Jeroboam rejected God’s wisdom and made Israel to sin against God. He did not heed God’s counsel and promise to him in 1 Kings 11.37-38. Jeroboam listened to his own paranoia and ego instead (1 Kings 12.26-28)…

Neither one of them sought God’s wisdom; neither one of them had a heart for what God’s Kingdom is to be…

Ever wonder how the faithful among the people of Israel felt at that time? Which king does one who loves God honor and recognize? With one comes the hardship of usurious taxes and service; with the other comes the state sanction against living worship of God and against finding reconciliation with God before the place He appointed for His Name to dwell and the means of grace…

It occurred to me that the tribes of Israel did not have to go along with Jeroboam’s political platform; they were not deprived of a choice. They did not deliberate on the ramifications of such a move, nor place limits on Jeroboam’s response to Rehoboam’s rigidity. They chose to go along with Jeroboam in his disgruntlement against the government of the House of David and set themselves at odds with the means of grace at Jerusalem…

Questions arise in my mind. Whose sin was worse? Does this historical event which reveals the inclinations of men’s hearts have significance for those who react to the state of government in our country? What do those who believe in Christ hold more important in a leader?

Patricia’s Facebook Thoughts – History


 

…And as I reflect on the lessons in our church’s Sunday School curriculum this year– Yeshua/Jesus declaring the Kingdom of God–I also reflect on R. C. Sproul’s article from TABLETALK, commenting on Genesis and the kingdom of man… (See the link I shared above. Really! Go ahead and read it! It will do your little grey cells good!) 

My earnest prayer is, “LORD, Jesus, Thy Kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.”

In my own dusty existence in this earthen vessel… Let the increase of His government have no end…

 

The Fragrance of Christ…

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“For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: to the one we are the savour of death…and to the other the savour of life…”

2 Corinthians 2.15 (KJV)

Study Question: What does the fragrance of Christ look like on a person?

Reflecting first on Psalm 45.8:

“All Your garments are scented with myrrh and aloes and cassia…”

This is the fragrance which impresses the Bride who waits the entrance of her King. It is a striking fragrance; she scents Him, she smells His nearness, before she sees Him. It is not the scent of an ordinary king bent on reeking of masculine prowess with a mixture of herbs and manly sweat mingled with his own musk…

The garments of Christ the King all broadcast the essences of myrrh, aloes, and cassia:

  • Myrrh: balsamodendron myrrha, both a fragrance for embalming and for medicinal use…
  • Aloes: ‘alahim – aloe wood, pounded for embalming powder, perfume for garments and beds, one of the most precious of essences…
  • Cassia: cinnamonium cassia, (Hebrew-“qetzioth”), aromatic inner bark of the woody plant used for unguents and embalming…

–resourced from Biblehub.net

All these essences remind the Bride of the King who died so that she would have LIFE with Him—His embalming contained 100 pounds of these costly perfumes which now, in His triumph over death, accompany Him wherever He goes…

Now we know what someone who is the sweet fragrance of Christ smells like to the world—we who belong to this King of Glory carry a scent of humiliation unto death of SELF for the love of Jesus Christ…

To believers it is a sweet fragrance because the King has shown His ways and had His way in their being…

To the unbelieving—to the world—we who belong to this King of Glory smell like the dying of Christ which reminds the world of the truth that LIFE can only be had in dying to SELF. This fragrance which emanates from our own surrender to Christ carries the scent of death to SELF—a putrid, horrid insult to the rebel heart which exalts itself above the knowledge of God and refuses to become accountable to the Lord Jesus Christ…

So, now that I know what I smell like, what does the sweet savour of Christ look like in me—one who belongs to the King of Glory?

Love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness,  goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.

Galatians 5.22-23

These are all visible manifestations of the King, and they appear only when a believer is willing to surrender every reaction to this world and its surprises, annoyances, frustrations, wounds, indignities, sorrows, sufferings, inconveniences, hardships, toils, agonies, conflicts with people whom we consider friends and from people who are strangers to us—everything that incites the SELF to pound all these into the ground, and scream and stomp and swear and curse and threaten and fight back and protest and grasp at retribution and triumph over them in self-glory in the name of the human spirit and human superiority—instead, to surrender all our “preciousses” and all our SELF-serving reflexes to the Lord Jesus Christ and to His government over them—for His glory working through the humanity He made of us, this side of Heaven, in dark and difficult and dead places…

Like the essences of myrrh, aloe wood and cassia, this death to SELF-cultivated reflexes is very, very costly; but by submitting to our King of Glory in all our encounters, we release a fragrance pleasing to God; and in this broadcast of the savour of Christ in our daily encounters, we embalm a dead world… with love, joy, peace, patience, meekness, gentleness, kindness, goodness, faith and self-control…True and powerful signs and wonders for such a time as this…

And who is sufficient for these things?  Not I, and certainly not in my own strength…

I confess my reflexes need God’s intervention every moment…

But being one who belongs to the King of Glory, I know and experience the reality of my sufficiency in God, even if only in fits and starts. But this work of Him in me I have, and it is in Christ I have been made new, to become new, and smell more of the essential fragrance of my King of Glory, by surrendering to Him more and more…

This is happening in me…for the Love of Christ, my King of Glory!

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