My Two Favorite Kid Videos

Here is a fun way to wrap up my posts for 2016. These are my two favorite kid videos ever. I laugh no matter how many times I see these. I’m sure you’ve seen both, but not on the same page! Too much funny for one post. But let’s try.

Look it Linda…

A Vital Resource For You

We are up on a new year again. The truth is that good habits don’t start on January 1. Good habits start anytime we discipline ourselves to do what is best and continue doing them daily. We can do that anytime. However, since most folks like to begin new and better habits on the day of “reset”, I want to offer you the best habit you can adopt: daily bible reading.

Here is a link to some good resources on our website: TRC Resources

Here is a link to many options on bible ready plans: Bible Reading Plans

I use the “daily reading bible” plan. I have been using that plan for a long time, and I’m stuck on it. I almost know intuitively what passages are up each day because I’ve done that so long. It’s a good habit to have formed. I like the fact that I get through the Old Testament 1 time a year and the New Testament and Psalms 2 times a year with this plan in about 15 minutes of reading per day.

So, go and choose your favorite one, choose the form you want it to come to you in and begin. You can start today!

Why should we read through our bibles yearly?

  1. You only see the connections when you read it as a whole. The New Testament is constructed on the Old Testament. The New Testament gives the interpretive key to the Old Testament. You need to read them both through in some fashion to begin making connections. It takes time, but stick to it. You’ll start to notice it. You can’t help it. It’s in your face.
  2. You will find that the Lord, in his good providence, has placed passages for your day in front of you just when you need them.
  3. You will gain a healthy adoration for the teaching of God’s providence when you meditate on the fact that someone constructed that reading plan long after the bible was written, and that you chose that plan for various reasons and yet that passage assigned on that day spoke to a situation that just happened or a mood you are in. You will marvel at the good grace of God to ordain such wonders through the work of Jesus for you.
  4. You will meet the Holy Spirit in his word as he gives you insight and leads your time. Concentrate on knowing God, knowing his truth, making his truth your truth, bending your beliefs around God’s truth, wrestling through hard things and you will begin to break through the veil of the curse to see, as C.S. Lewis stated, “this is a magical world”.
  5. You simply won’t be the same. The Spirit cleans us up and makes us more like Jesus as he rescues us from the curse as we join him in his word.

There are so many more truths I could share that you will experience when you read and think on Scripture consistently and with a plan. These bible reading plans provide that for you.

May you know the King and love his kingdom rule more in 2o17.

“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” – Matthew 6:33

Micaiah Reminds Me of Someone Now

There is a fantastic account of the time Ahab, king of the Northern Kingdom, constructed an alliance with Jehoshaphat, king of the Southern Kingdom and enticed him to go to war together against a northern neighbor in 1 Kings 22. Jehoshaphat agrees but wants to hear from the Lord first, so he requests that Ahab bring in those who speak in the name of the Lord.

Needless to say these 400 cats that Ahab brings in are “yes” men to the evil Ahab and quite surely enjoy the power they have gained in the king’s court. In like fashion of power-hungry “yes” type people, they tell Ahab what he wants to hear. These guys support him and stand by him in any undertaking.

Jehoshaphat, for reasons 1 Kings 22 does not tell us, requests if there was another prophet of the Lord they could hear from. I presume this is because, being from David’s line and used to a little more push back from Aaron’s boys, he recognizes some problems (I may be way wrong there).

Now, Ahab has this one contrary prophet who does not tell him “yes” and seems to not be intoxicated by being in the circle with the king. This man’s name is Micaiah.

Ahab relays to Jehoshaphat that there is no love lost with ole Micaiah because he only speaks evil of Ahab’s plans and policies and lifestyle.

While they are summoning Micaiah, Zedekiah (perhaps the leader of these 400 “prophets”), makes these horns of iron, and I’m presuming he put them on his head, and played like a bull pushing something around and declared that the Lord was saying this plan of theirs was his plan and that they would succeed like a bull would succeed in pushing something around. Nice show put on my the prophet of the Lord. I’m sure it got him props for being showy, loud and one that made for good theatre for folks. I’ll bet his funding was tremendous.

Micaiah was briefed as to what the prophets were saying and encouraged to say the same. So, Micaiah, half-heartedly tried to agree with the prophets’ message. In a twist here, ole Ahab, who knows Micaiah never speaks good for him, just heard good words from Micaiah, and likely recognizes the half-hearted nature of his words and tells him to speak the “truth”. So, Micaiah prophesies that this campaign will not work, bad things will happen, Ahab is wrong and these prophets are speaking lies sent from the Lord to bring about Ahab’s demise as promised from the Lord. Boom!

Ole Zedekiah does not take to kindly to Micaiah’s insinuation that they are all lying prophets and hits Micaiah in the mouth. Micaiah gets imprisoned and well…Ahab gets killed, Jehoshaphat barely escapes and the short-term alliance of Israel gets routed. Micaiah was right and Zedekiah was wrong.

When the recent news broke about certain prominent SBC pastors in the Dallas, TX area criticizing Dr. Moore of the ERLC ( ERLC ) and threatening to defund the ERLC for speaking out against the Donald’s numerous problems that Christians need to be aware of and careful about supporting, I instantly thought of this account in 1 Kings 22.

It seems that some Christian leaders have become enamored with being in the counsel of the president to the point they forget their job is to be the Lord’s ambassadors of truth not agents of garnering support for the president (now labeled “king” by the RNC Trump like Jesus, a King  / GOP Christmas Message ). For some reason “prominent” pastors have begun to think they need to be the counsel to supposed certain leaders they choose based on some standard that I’ve failed to find in Scripture. They do this while rejecting a Micaiah like voice that refused to succumb to the Zedekiah like calls for Christian support for the questionable morality of much of what the President Elect has been and done and will continue to be and do.

I didn’t vote for the Donald or Hillary. I voted for a third-party for reasons not to be dealt with here. But what I want Christians to see is that the calling of pastors for a man and our own organization (the ERLC is the SBC wing that is given to deal with ethical and religious liberty issues) to lose his job or the org’s funding because he questioned the man they are supporting is akin to Zedekiah smacking Micaiah for telling the truth.

Pastor, Christian, leader, whoever follows Jesus, be better than that and don’t give people like that your ear or support. Support the Dr. Moore kind of people who refuse to hop in bed with political powers. Those people loose the prophetic voice given by God to hold accountable whoever is in office.

Here is a good take by Jonathan Merritt Marginalizing Dr. Moore Is A Grave Mistake

May we find ourselves with a biblical, kingdom mindset, viewpoint and stand with those who have likewise and not be found as patsies of power.

Micaiah reminds me of someone now. Let’s make sure we stand with Micaiah not Zedekiah.

(I recognize that many will say that the prominent folk supporting the President Elect are standing with God because the PE is God’s man and Dr. Moore is standing in God’s way. I’d simply point those sincere people to the questionable ethics of our PE and leave it at that.)

Dr. Eric Mason on the Role of Suffering in Sanctification

One of my favorite pastors/preachers ever, Dr. Eric Mason, preaches on the role of suffering in sanctification. I was in the room for this talk and providentially so. Life has not always been kind to me, and the Good Shepherd Jesus, has used difficulty to shape me, humble me and generally make me more like Jesus.

It was Father’s good plan to have me in the room for this talk, so I want to share it with you. I know that Christmas time can be hard for some, and this sermon from the Manuel will help you see good purpose in where God has you now and help you persevere.

Drink deeply.

Isaiah 7:10-16 Immanuel…God With Us…Kingdom Come…Restoration Begun

Isaiah 7:10-16

Immanuel…God With Us…Kingdom Come…Restoration Begun

Background

Ahaz is not a godly king.

Ahaz, as king of Judah, is under siege from two other kingdoms (Syria and Israel…Northern Kingdom) and is seeking his help from Assyria rather than the Lord. Ahaz is also modeling his spiritual pursuits after those of the Assyrians, since he is in league with them militarily, he might as well be in league with them spiritually (See 2 Kings 16).

So, the Lord, being gracious, tells Ahaz (being gracious he speaks to Ahaz) that he will rescue him and to exercise trust (that would look like not going to the Assyrians for help).

The Lord even offers a sign to him that what has been promised would come to pass.

Ahaz refuses the sign on the grounds of “not putting the Lord to the test”, as if his spirituality being shaped by Assyria isn’t putting he Lord to the test.

The sign is that the new wife, probably of Ahaz, would conceive and have a son.

For the immediate audience the promise that the new wife of the king conceiving a prince would bring great hope because it would signal God’s faithfulness to David to keep a king on his throne and therefore hope of rescue from the immediate threat of Rezin and Pekah.

It is also likely that this virgin could be Isaiah’s second wife, since his first wife died after his son Shear-jashub was born. This son would be named both “Immanuel” and “Maher-shalal-hash-baz (see 8:1-4 and 8-10).

Optional Insight:

However, this “sign” had an immediate significance to Ahaz and the people of Judah. A woman who was then a virgin would get married, conceive, and bear a son whose name would be “Immanuel.” This son would be a reminder that God was with His people and would care for them. It is likely that this virgin was Isaiah’s second wife, his first wife having died after Shear-jashub was born; and that Isaiah’s second son was named both “Immanuel” and “Maher-shalal-hash-baz” (8:1–4; note vv. 8 and 10).[1]

However, Jesus as the interpretive key to the whole Old Testament causes us to see this passage the way Matthew does in 1:18-25, under the Spirit’s inspiration, as God’s promise to finally and fully secure David’s line with the real King, God himself, in establishing a kingdom that will never fade or fail or fall to any threat however great or petty (like Rezin and Pekah).

Optional Insight:

Of course, the ultimate fulfillment of this prophecy is in our Lord Jesus Christ, who is “God with us” (Matt. 1:18–25; Luke 1:31–35). The virgin birth of Christ is a key doctrine; for if Jesus Christ is not God come in sinless human flesh, then we have no Savior. Jesus had to be born of a virgin, apart from human generation, because He existed before His mother. He was not just born in this world; He came down from heaven into the world (John 3:13; 6:33, 38, 41–42, 50–51, 58). Jesus was sent by the Father and therefore came into the world having a human mother but not a human father (4:34; 5:23–24, 30; 9:4).[2]

What do we need to see? What does it mean?

Matthew records this passage’s ultimate fulfillment as realized in Jesus.

1.1 Look at Matthew 1:18-25

“Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:

“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,

and they shall call his name Immanuel”

(which means, God with us).

When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.”

1.2 Jesus is the fulfillment of this promise (and all promises) to David to sit a king on his throne forever. Romans 1:3

“Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures, concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh…”

All the kings of the OT were preparation for Jesus as “dead ends” and “bridges” to lead us to Jesus.

1.3 Jesus is the fulfillment of the promise to establish God’s kingdom rule forever and in an increasing manner from his first coming until completed at his second coming.

         Isaiah 9:7

“Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.”

1.4 In Jesus life, death, resurrection, ascension and sending of the Spirit God has come “near” to be with and inside of his Kingdom people. Thus Jesus is the fulfilling of every          prophecy of the Scriptures. Acts 13:32-33

“And we bring you the good news that what God promised to the fathers, this he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus,…” (Goes on to quote as proof Psalm 2; Isaiah 55:3; Psalm 16; Habakkuk 1:5)

What do we do with this?

  1. Stand in awe of God, enjoy his grace in kindness and worship him for his faithfulness.

Sometimes applications are less about a list of “to do” items and more about our delight in, enjoyment of, awe of and worship of God above all things.

  1. God is not far off. He is near.
  1. The Kingdom has been tangibly established and all things are being reconciled back to Jesus from people to created order.

3.1 People are being raised to life, renewed and walking in the good works of bringing things back under Jesus rule. (Ephesians 2:10…referring to Ephesians 1:7-10)

3.2 Creation is groaning from its subjection to futility in longing for the full revealing of the sons of God so it can be free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. (Romans 8:18-21)

  1. The world system has been turned upside down and now the values of God’s kingdom are the rule of law. Live by God’s values not a broken world system’s values.

4.1 Acts 2:14-41…Peter quotes Joel 2:28-32 regarding the sun going dark and the moon to blood as what was happening as the Spirit was sent from the Son.

(NOTE: the prophetic material of the OT is not to be interpreted literally but as types of what was to come. The NT authors present these things as being fulfilled in Jesus. So as the sun not giving its light would be a massive shift in created order so now men being indwelled by the God of the OT is a massive shift in the order of the systems of the world. The last is now first and the first is now last. The meek inherit the earth not the mighty. Everything has now changed.)

4.2 Live by God’s values for they are the values that count now. The world system is passing away.

4.3 The day has dawned because Immanuel has come, God is with us, the kingdom has come, and the restoration has begun.

[1] Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Comforted, “Be” Commentary Series (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 33.

[2] Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Comforted, “Be” Commentary Series (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 33.