April 22, 2016

Super Chapters of The Bible – Old Testament

To begin this blog post I wanted to preface it by sharing with you how I got the idea. My pastor David Dunn was speaking one Sunday recently and he honed in on a Luke Chapter 16 as a focus for the cross-reference of James Chapter 5. What stood out to me was so much insight and knowledge and gumption to this Chapter in Luke that I named it a “Super Chapter”. I also felt like other Books of the Bible had that same effect on all of us. I am not saying that other chapters aren’t as important as these are, I am just saying that I feel like these Chapters in the Bible are extra special…at least to me and maybe to you as well. This isn’t a perfect science either and this is mostly for fun and education as well. I will also highlight a verse or two that I think ‘coin’ the chapter in my opinion also. I would love for you to comment on your own “Super Chapters” you think are as good as the ones I will be focusing on below. Enjoy:

Genesis 50. Besides Chapter 1 being so important with the Words,”In the Beginning God created”, I felt so much goes into Chapter 50 along with forgiveness/redemption and Verse 20 “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”
Exodus 20. Great stories/depictions of the Israelite’s leaving Egypt, etc. but come on, The Ten Commandments….which are still valid today! Thou shalt not….
Leviticus 18. Big on rules, this Book with its regulations and laws of how to properly handle yourself in this life. God gives us the ‘what not to do’ summed up in Verse 22-23,‘Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable.Do not have sexual relations with an animal and defile yourself with it. A woman must not present herself to an animal to have sexual relations with it; that is a perversion.”
Numbers 14. Grumbling from the Israelite’s and Verse 2, Joshua and Caleb’s good report, The Glory of the Lord shows up and more. Verse 8 is the highlight of that Chapter as well,”If the Lord is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us.”
Deuteronomy 6. Jesus quotes this chapter in Verse 5 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. Also, do not put the Lord to the test, and Fear the Lord.” Pervading topics throughout the Bible.
Joshua 24. Now I know Chapter 1 is great but Chapter 24 summarizes the whole book well. Highlight Verse 15,”But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”
Judges 4 I love that a Woman named Deborah leads the army and people of Israel in battle and service. Verse 9 “Certainly I will go with you,” said Deborah. “But because of the course you are taking, the honor will not be yours, for the Lord will deliver Sisera into the hands of a woman.” Notable mention is Samson in Judges 15 & Gideon Judges 6.
Ruth 1. Only 4 Chapters, but a powerful account of her life I think we can relate to in some ways. Summed up in this verse, the Faith of Ruth is shown here, Verse 16 But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.”
1 Samuel. Too many good chapters for sure and thus debatable. I have always liked this Verse 22 in Chapter 15: But Samuel replied:“Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice,and to heed is better than the fat of rams.”
2 Samuel 12. The culmination of accountability comes to a head with David’s initial response and then his penitent heart after Nathan rebukes him. Verse 13 “I have sinned against the Lord.”
1 Kings 3 The wisdom of Solomon is on display here as God had granted him. Verse 28 “When all Israel heard the verdict the king had given, they held the king in awe, because they saw that he had wisdom from God to administer justice.”
2 Kings 19 Many Kings of Israel that do good in the sight of the Lord on the throne and Many that do evil just the same during their reigns. I love this prayer and the Chapter is powerful in itself. Verse 15 “And Hezekiah prayed to the Lord: “Lord, the God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth.”
1 Chronicles 4. The Prayer of Jabez. Famous book and a good read. Verse 10,”Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request.”
2 Chronicles 7. Famous Verse 14 from the book and chapter “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” Notable mention is Chapter 1 when Solomon asks for Wisdom rather than anything in the world and God gives him more than he expected because he asked with right motives a la Matthew 6:33.
Ezra 7. Some Chapters in books of the Bible are more ‘Super’ than others. Still others have more than one. In the case of Ezra it wasn’t so easy. I went with Chapter 7 Verse 28..”Because the hand of the Lord my God was on me,…” and this chapter had the most substance of God being addressed than the others as well.
Nehemiah 1. Boom, right off Nehemiah gets into the grit of what the whole book is about. Fasting, Mourning and Praying. The Rebuilding of Jerusalem’s walls. Verse 5,”Lord, the God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments,” – This is how we should pray, like our forefathers.
Esther 4. Powerful story of bravery. Not any mention of God in this Book(The only Biblical book to do so) and the famous words of encouragement from Mordecai in Verse 14…”And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”
Job 38. The Hammer drops! After Job’s wife says to Job “curse God and die” in Chapter 1.The conversation between God & Satan and the litany of 3 of Job’s badgering friends ridicule him and on and on, God gives the last word…Are you done? Verse 4-5,“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?Tell me, if you understand.Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!Who stretched a measuring line across it?” I love these verses. Puts us all in CHECK! WHERE WERE YOU…
Psalm 91. With TOO many good Chapters to count, I’m going with this one. Verses 1-2 are beautiful in a maze of others “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty 2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,my God, in whom I trust.”  I must share that I love Psalm 23 as well, which I do have memorized.
Proverbs 3. Again pick your favorite and go with it.They are all Super! Verses 5-6 always quickly come to my mind “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;6 in all your ways submit(acknowledge) to him,and he will make your paths straight.”
Ecclesiastes 2. Amongst the ‘Wisdom’ of Solomon and so much meaningless…Verse 25 makes a point “for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment?”
Song of Songs 1. Starts off so beautifully and I must go with beauty, Verse 15 “How beautiful you are, my darling!Oh, how beautiful!Your eyes are doves.” Speak like this to your spouse and your marriage shall endure!
Isaiah 53. Without question, in my opinion, one of the most important Chapters in the entire OT. Verse 5 about Jesus(The coming Messiah) “But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;the punishment that brought us peace was on him,and by his wounds we are healed.” *Honorable mention to Chapter 1:18 and 40:31. Again too many good Chapters in this Book.
Jeremiah(aka Weeping Prophet) Chapter 1. So many great verses in this first Chapter alone. Verse 5, 9 & 17. I really like the Verse 5“Before I formed you in the womb I knew[a] you,before you were born I set you apart;I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” Notable mention to Chapter 29:11.
Lamentations 3. Not sure there is really a Super Chapter here, but if there was, 3 would be it. Verse 31-33 “For no one is cast off by the Lord forever.32 Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love.33 For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to anyone.”
Ezekiel 37. Not a very famous book, but of the quoted and powerful chapters in a 48 Chapter book this is it. Verse 4-6,”Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! 5 This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath[a] enter you, and you will come to life. 6 I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.”
Daniel 3. One of my most favorite books of the OT and this Chapter in particular. Jesus comes alive as the 4th person in the blazing furnace. Verse 25- He said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.”
Hosea 4. The adulteress/whore wife likened to Israel’s prostituting herself to other god’s. Verse 14b”a people without understanding will come to ruin!”
Joel 2. Quickly becoming one of my favorite Minor prophet books. This famous Verse 28,”“And afterward,I will pour out my Spirit on all people.Your sons and daughters will prophesy,your old men will dream dreams,your young men will see visions.”
Amos 4. A serious call-out of Israel throughout the book and in Verse 13 God makes a statement,”He who forms the mountains,who creates the wind,and who reveals his thoughts to mankind,who turns dawn to darkness,and treads on the heights of the earth—the Lord God Almighty is his name.”
Obadiah 1. Only 1 Chapter here and Verse 15 stands out ““The day of the Lord is near for all nations.As you have done, it will be done to you;your deeds will return upon your own head.”
Jonah 3. Oh how we love to tell this tale to our children in SS class 🙂 Chapter 3 really points to God’s willing nature to forgive as shown in Verse 10 “When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened.” However, Nineveh was destroyed some decades later for her same faults historically.
Micah 6. Another famous and quoted verse that I truly love. Verse 8,”He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.And what does the Lord require of you?To act justly and to love mercy & to walk humbly with your God.”
Nahum 1. Three short Chapters and mostly in regard to God’s wrath. Verse 3a,”The Lord is slow to anger but great in power;the Lord will not leave the guilty unpunished.”
Habakkuk 2. Anther 3 Chapter book. Habakkuk brings 2 complaints to the Lord and He responds twice. Verse 20 “The Lord is in his holy temple;let all the earth be silent before him.”
Zephaniah 3. Three Chapters again. More judgement and wrath but ultimate restoration found in Chapter 3 Verse 17,”The Lord your God is with you,the Mighty Warrior who saves.He will take great delight in you;in his love he will no longer rebuke you,but will rejoice over you with singing.”
Haggai 2. Two Chapter book. That is why these are called the minor prophets. Shorter books many of them. Haggai ends leaving you wanting…but I like Verse 5 “‘This is what I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt. And my Spirit remains among you. Do not fear.’
Zechariah 4. Verse 6b ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.
Malachi 3. This is the end of the OT. Famous verse from this book in this chapter Verse 10 “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it”

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December 9, 2015

Caelub’s Dedication

IMG_0239On November 29th, 2015, we had a Dedication service for our 2nd child Caelub. We celebrated it at our new place of worship Grace Bible Church.  We invited our closest friends to be there with us and to support us. The Solomon family were there as Caelub’s God Parents as well.

To break down a few things, our view on God Parents is more practical. We are close with the Solomon’s and thus have made them God Parents, to help be the representation of Christ to our children, not in a sense of ‘if we die’ they take over(for clarification). Heather and I are also God Parents to their last child, Ava Marie, as well and they view this blessing the same.

Speaking with our Pastor, David Dunn, we wanted an infant Baptism, but he firmly said,”No, there is no precedent biblically speaking for infant Baptism.”  I never really thought about it that way, just thought of it as ‘normal’, but we accepted this and asked for a dedication then for Caelub in which we brought him forth before our congregation, along with the Solomon’s, and he said a prayer blessing over us focused on Caelub. We were grateful for this blessing and prayer.

It is funny how tradition in “The Church” sometimes gets confused with scripture/truth.  Baptism is a personal decision and is only needed to be made once in life(I know folks that have done this multiple times) but is not required for salvation(Man on the cross next to Jesus at the crucifixion). I know this. It is also a personal decision to be made once your ‘of age’ as well. Thus, the zero precedent in scripture for infant baptism, even though many churches do this. My Pastor is a hardcore, Bible believing brother and taught us something that I never really gave much thought to. I am glad we spoke about this and am glad that at least we were able to do a beautiful dedication for Caelub to the Lord for that purpose.

We invited all our friends, whom we consider family, over to our home for lasagna and salad afterwards and had our Pastor and his wife over as well. It was a beautiful day and a splendid memory that we will not soon forget.

Love you my son, Caelub.

Of course, I must include scripture here for reference:

One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism – Ephesians 4:5

Luke 23:39-43 Man on the Cross – Baptism not required for salvation

*Now I dedicate him to the Lord. From this time on he is dedicated to the Lord, then they worshiped the Lord there – 1 Samuel 1:28

November 20, 2015

Gettysburg Address

abraham-lincoln-quotes

I thought it profound to read the President Lincoln speech. It is very short, yet profound. Concise and encapsulating. It takes your breath away. One of the best writings to have been spoken since the origin of America’s birth. Read it for yourself:

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Abraham Lincoln

November 19, 1863

November 10, 2015

Feeling Alone?

hebrews 13_5

To start off a blog post with Scripture on this topic is very appropriate.  In my experience and knowledge and ingestion of society today, I have found that the feeling of Aloneness or being Alone is a dreadful thought.  What society has deemed moving forward with technology seems to have placed our eyes behind a computer or iPad or smart phone.  While this has improved our lives in many ways, it seems to have separated us from others and from conversation with people.  The physical act of communication ‘in person’ is becoming an almost lost art.  The emoji’s,texting and Instant Message has also made us less verbal and communicative and reduced our spelling capabilities.

My point for the above paragraph is to point out that technology has made us more alone rather than more connected to others. I feel that because of our mobile devices, we have less interaction with other human beings and thus ‘feel’ more alone even though we are more ‘connected’ than ever to the outside world.

“Do not forsake the assembling of each other together” Hebrews 10:25 

This scripture above written almost 2k years ago is extremely meaningful today than it ever was.  We are to meet as a body of believers and sing hymns, have fellowship and listen to sermons together, not behind a TV or a mobile device.  Now everything does have its place, but to replace our assembling together is not the point!

“Love your neighbor as yourself” Matthew 22:39

We can do this virtually, but in person is much better.  Get out and show your love to others in a personable way.  Get out and support a good cause by volunteering.  Get out and run a marathon.  Get out and get into a Bible Study.  Get out and grab a cup of coffee at your local brew-house.  GET OUT and touch some lives!!

We were never meant to be isolated from the world, but to have Jesus make us fishers of men(Matthew 4:19) and fulfill the Great Commission(Matthew 28:19-20)

I love facts and statistics and I could have included those in this post, but that really wasn’t my point.  My point is to encourage those feeling Alone to know there is hope and a future God has promised all of us and that getting our hands dirty and involved in our community is the best way to shake that feeling of ‘Alone’, because in my heart of hearts, I believe, we are never Alone when we know the true savior, Jesus.

Blessings!

October 21, 2015

Christianity today….

Where to start….

I have been having conversations with ‘Christians’ over the last few years and among them I have found that they differ from my views on biblical topics.  Do not judge they say or there isn’t just ONE way to Heaven or God would never do that or Why would God do that.  This Comic strip below really expresses what I have found Christianity to resemble a lot like lately in light of the current times. I will elaborate a bit more after you read the strip below:

i'm a C BUT

This comic strip really hit home for me in light of my conversations with not only Christians but non believers as well.  I keep hearing these common themes of ‘it’s personal’ and ‘that’s how I feel’ a lot.  For me, reading scripture and knowing Jesus and my God whom I serve is how I get to know him and learn what He wants from me and how I should live. It is not a feeling or something to be kept quiet.  We are meant to live out loud and shout the good news from the Mountain tops.

The sad situation is that there are so many Christians that believe this way and that needs to change. And that change needs to start with you and me.  To end with scripture that is apropos, I will end with this one.

 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God[a] may be thoroughly equipped for every good work – 2 Timothy 3:16,17

August 12, 2015

Perseverance

From a blog that quoted Mr. Henri Nouwen:

Henri Nouwen: “We belong to a generation that wants to see the results of our work.  We want to be productive and see with our own eyes what we have made.  But that is not the way of God’s Kingdom.  Often our witness for God does not lead to tangible results.  Jesus himself died as a failure on a cross.  There was no success there to be proud of.  Still, the fruitfulness of Jesus’ life is beyond any human measure.  As faithful witnesses of Jesus we have to trust that our lives too will be fruitful, even though we cannot see their fruit.  The fruit of our lives may be visible only to those who live after us.

“What is important is how well we love.  God will make our love fruitful, whether we see that fruitfulness or not.”

August 4, 2015

Caelub

Heather and I had our second child. His name is Caelub, born on July 13th, 2015.  We didn’t know his sex until the doctor told us in the operating room. We both cried when we found out it was a boy.  What a true blessing from God that we had a boy. I am so grateful for this blessing from Him and am very happy that we have a boy and a girl now.

He was a healthy 7.15 oz and 20.5″ long.  In 2 weeks he’s gained almost 2 pounds and 2″ !!!!  So happy he’s healthy and strong.

We are in the ‘sleepless’ mode right now, but all worth it for this little bundle of joy.

Thank you Jesus for this true blessing of Life.

I wanted to add that Caelub’s name comes from scripture. Numbers 13 &14. Also, this too from Deut. 1:36 “except Caleb the son of Jephunneh; he shall see it, and (AP)to him and to his sons I will give the land on which he has set foot, because he has followed the Lord fully.”  I know it’s not the exact spelling, but I liked the spelling I gave him better.

Blessings!

July 9, 2015

Powerful Quote for Evangelism

“If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our dead bodies. And if they perish, let them perish with our arms wrapped about their knees, imploring them to stay. If Hell must be filled, let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go unwarned and unprayed for.”  Charles Spurgeon

April 24, 2015

History of the NIV Bible

I read this from a Faith Gateway Bible Study and thought it was a great short read on the history and insight into the NIV Bible and what went into getting it ready for publication. What astounded me was the 10 years it took to get it ready. That’s a long time to spend on something so important. So next time someone blows off the version of Bible your reading, share this post with them and let them know it was a Major undertaking and not something to take lightly as if it was created overnight.

Have you ever wondered how the New International Version (NIV) Bible came to be?

It started in the early 1500s with a humble man and a huge conviction: to translate the Bible into the English language. Standing on the shoulders of William Tyndale, the Committee on Bible Translation (CBT) was commissioned in August of 1965 “to prepare a contemporary English translation of the Bible.”

The NIV translation project was initiated by the signing of the NIV charter and the formation of the Committee on Bible Translation (CBT). The CBT was formed to create a modern English Bible translation from the oldest and most reliable biblical manuscripts available, providing the best possible blend of transparency to the original documents and ease of understanding in every verse.

The CBT began the translation process for the NIV in 1965, working from the original Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic texts. Their translation work took more than 10 years and in 1975, the New Testament of the NIV was released and in 1978 the entire Bible was published.

Since its release, the NIV has become the world’s best-selling Bible translation with more than 450 million copies in print worldwide.

Now, after fifty years, the world celebrates one of the great Bible revivals. A translation that captures the original meaning of Scripture in common, everyday language. A translation that is true to God’s Word and has changed how people read, experience, and live out the Bible ever since.

Visit the official NIV 50th Anniversary website and watch this video to learn more about how this translation came to be. On the website you can also sign up for free NIV Bible reading plans, download the free NIV Bible App, and so much more!

Blessings!

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April 15, 2015

The name of God

I wanted to post this for a long time. The reason is because from what I know now is of importance to mostly the ‘Western Hemisphere’. Of most importance to get across for me in this blog today is the name “ALLAH”. This name is a beautiful name of God in Arabic. It is also the ONLY way to call him “GOD” in Arabic. Just like we say “GOD” in English, the same holds true in Arabic. Muslims don’t hold the sole right to call God “Allah” just like Christians don’t either. It is the universal name of God in Arabic.
So for education purposes I wanted to share this with you. I am also including a great excerpt from Wikipedia.org about the many understandings of the name ALLAH below:

**Allah (English pronunciation: /ˈælə/ or /ˈɑːlə/;[1] Arabic: الله‎ Allāh, IPA: [ʔalˤˈlˤɑːh] ( listen)) is the Arabic word for God (al ilāh, literally “the God”).The word has cognates in other Semitic languages, including Elah in Aramaic, ʾĒl in Canaanite and Elohim in Hebrew.

It is used mainly by Muslims to refer to God in Islam,but it has also been used by Arab Christians since pre-Islamic times. It is also often, albeit not exclusively, used by Bábists, Bahá’ís, Indonesian and Maltese Christians, and Mizrahi Jews. Christians and Sikhs in West Malaysia also use and have used the word to refer to God. This has caused political and legal controversies there as the law in West Malaysia prohibits non-Islamic uses of the word.

The Aramaic word for “God” in the language of Assyrian Christians is ʼĔlāhā, or Alaha. Arabic-speakers of all Abrahamic faiths, including Christians and Jews, use the word “Allah” to mean “God”. The Christian Arabs of today have no other word for “God” than “Allah”.(Even the Arabic-descended Maltese language of Malta, whose population is almost entirely Roman Catholic, uses Alla for “God”.) Arab Christians, for example, use the terms Allāh al-ab (الله الأب) for God the Father, Allāh al-ibn (الله الابن) for God the Son, and Allāh al-rūḥ al-quds (الله الروح القدس) for God the Holy Spirit.**

I hope this helps when from now on you hear the word Allah, you realize that it is the beautiful name of God in the Middle-East and other parts of the world.

I also wanted to iterate the fact that God’s name should never be taken in vain, Exodus 20. This is where the 10 commandments lye and the respect, reverence and holiness of our Father should never be taken lightly or in vain.

Blessings