Friday, 28 August 2015
Putting on the Helmet of Salvation
(taken from "Battle for the Mind -- Receiving the Helmet of Salvation", Pastor Rob Hamilton, Covenantnaples.com)
Our growth as Christians is like an oak tree and its leaves. The old nature and way of life hangs dead on us until new life springs up and pushes the dead stuff off. Or sometimes God might use the cold, stormy winds of hardship and persecution to pull them off. But his goal is always the same: to bring new life into us and to make us after the image of Jesus. In other words, we are being saved from sin, from its effects and its power. Our relationship with God is already secure because we have been saved; but now he continues his good work in us through the process of sanctification.
One of the most important parts of this process involves my mind. Romans 12:2 says: "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by the testing of your mind you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." Notice in this verse the connection between the mind and spiritual growth. To be conformed to God's will, I must be transformed by the renewing of my mind. A mind renewed by salvation (or "the mercies of God" as they are called in Romans 12:1) has discernment. Discernment leads to knowing and doing God's will. This is why we need the helmet of salvation. So much of the battle happens in the mind. Now this is not what pop-psychology calls the "power of positive thinking." This is a true, spiritual dynamic based on the salvation which Jesus Christ accomplished for us and which the Holy Spirit is applying to us. This is true, spiritual power that comes from the gospel.
Posted on 08/28/2015 9:55 AM by Larry G
Thursday, 27 August 2015
Implications of a Corrupt Image
(taken from Hebrew-streams.org)
Based on this survey of texts, Cain was once in the Book. So was Pharaoh and Nebuchadnezzar. And Herod and Caesar. And Torquemada and Josef Stalin, Adolf Hitler and Mao Zedong, Bin Laden and Al-Assad, and other mass killers ... even apostate priests, rabbis, and mullahs who have led people to hell through their false teaching.
At one time, they were all recorded in the Book of Life. But one day when the books are opened and the entirety of their lives are examined, they will be blotted out for good - unless at some point they repent and seek salvation (yeshuah) from the hand of God.
If they accept God's cleansing atonement through Messiah, they'll will be retained in the Pesach Lamb's registry - his Sefer Hayyim.
Regardless of how we view the fate of the wicked before the day of judgment, these Scriptures speak to us of both God's love for his human creation and his justice toward unrepentant human sinfulness.
It should provoke a rather fundamental question in our personal, introspective soul times:
Am I still in the Book by faith in God and Messiah -
or heading for removal because of my sins?
It will come about that he who is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem
will be called holy [qadosh] -
everyone who is Written for Life [katuv lachayyim] in Jerusalem.
Posted on 08/27/2015 10:11 AM by Larry G
Wednesday, 26 August 2015
We Corrupt the Image
(taken from Hebrew-steams.org)
But the terrible, undeniable reality is: upon our entry into earthly human life, we commit and accumulate sin. And if the habitual, willful sin is not removed by atonement and the forgiveness of God, we, ourselves, are removed from his memory, blotted out from among those who are forgiven.
A life of sin mars the Image of God in us. Until finally we become so unGodlike we are different beings - an alien species that cannot reside in the holy city Jerusalem.
They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt;
There is no one who does good, not even one. (Ps 14:3)
If you, LORD, should mark iniquities,
O Lord, who could stand? (Ps 130:3)
The Lord Yeshua shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retributrion to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Yeshua. (2 Thess 1:7).
When David was confronted by his great sins involving Bathsheba (2 Sam 11-12), he knew what was facing him: expulsion from God's Presence. So he begged that God would "blot out [machah] my rebellions" - before God blotted him out. "Wash me...cleanse me...I have sinned...purify me...wash me and I shall be whiter than snow...create in me a cleansed heart...renew a steadfast ruach within me" (Psalm 51).
God hates this situation into which humans have descended.
" 'I have no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies,' declares the Lord YHVH. 'Therefore, repent and live' " (Ezek 18:32). "The Lord...[does not wish] for any to perish but for all to come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9).
He wants to retain everyone in his living book.
Posted on 08/26/2015 9:53 AM by Larry G
Tuesday, 25 August 2015
When Are Our Names Written in the Book?
(taken from Hebrew-streams.org)
Years ago, I heard it taught that when people become believers in Jesus, their names are at that moment written in the Book of Life. Before then, before they are saved, they are lost and headed for hell - because they aren't in the book. (Note the theologian's comment above that we are all "born into the world guilty . . . condemned already.")
But I also heard others teach that everyone who sins automatically has their name blotted out of the book and they go to hell.
This didn't make sense.
Do we start out in the Book or not? Or are there two books: one we all start out in (but get blotted out of if we sin), and one we get enrolled in only if we believe in Jesus (but never get blotted out of)? Is one book for Jews and all other Gentiles, and the other only for Christians?
I resolved the exegetical mystery by studying the biblical texts. From my reading, I concluded that everyone is written in God's Book from the beginning. Whether that means at our conception in our mother's womb or at our physical birth, or perhaps in eternity, long before conception when God perceived our unformed substance (Ps 139:16), I don't know.
We begin as invaluable treasures to the Creator, each uniquely crafted in his image (Gen 1:26-27).
Posted on 08/25/2015 9:49 AM by Larry G
Monday, 24 August 2015
How we remain in God's Book of Life
(taken from Hebrew-streams.org)
The contigency for remaining in God's Book is faithfulness to him and his commandments, whether before the coming of Messiah or afterward. Sins that lead God to blot out our names can only and must be removed by repentance and sacrifice: by blood.
This is the good message of the Re-Newed Covenant ratified by Messiah Yeshua's sacrifice on the Golgotha altar.
Disciples of Yeshua should "rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven" (Luke 10:20). Paul's companions and fellow-workers, including women who "shared [his] struggle in the cause of the gospel," are assured that their "names are in the Book of Life" (Phil 4:3). And on Mount Zion, in the heavenly Jerusalem, we hear about "the festal gathering of the congregation of the first-born who are enrolled in heaven" (Heb 12:23).
Contrary to the beliefs of many Christian sects, Yeshua issues a stern warning toward those who call themselves Christians but continue to live unrepentant lives of sin.
To a congregation of "Christians" in Sardis, Asia Minor, he says that those who "overcome" the temptations to betray him through sin and idolatry, will be "clothed in white garments" and "walk with [him] in white."
And I will not expunge his name from the Book of Life." (Rev 3:5a)
Their reputation ("name") will then be mentioned by Messiah "before [his] Father" and the heavenly court (v. 5b) as valid members of his people.
Yeshua's disciples soberly speak of falling "from grace" (Gal 5:4), falling "away from the faith" (1 Tim 4:1), and falling from their "steadfastness [of faith]" (2 Pet 3:17). The person who is overconfident about their religiosity needs to "take heed that he does not fall" (1 Cor 10:12).
Posted on 08/24/2015 9:22 AM by Larry G
Sunday, 23 August 2015
The Faithful Remain in the Book
(taken from Hebrew-streams.org)
Those who remain faithful to God, here and now, are retained in the master ledger - but under certain conditions.
If only you had paid attention to my commandments! . . .
Your descendants would have been like the sand,
And your offspring like its grains:
Their name would never be cut off or destroyed from my presence."
At that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued.
Nothing unclean and no one who practices abomination and lying shall ever come into [God's holy city and temple], but only those whose are written in the Lamb's Book of Life. (Rev 21:22-23, 27)
How does come into God's presence clean? Well, I don't think it is by our own efforts, which fall woefully short. No, it is by the blood of Jesus, the Messiah, the Lamb of God, who cleanses us, so that our name (our DNA, if you will), is the same as intended when He created us. There ain't no other way and we all need to come to that "ah hah" moment when we realize that we are heading over the falls into the maelstrom, that our only hope is GOD, our only hope is Jesus, the GOD WHO SAVES!
John 3:16 -- For God so loved the world that he gave his only and unique Son, so that everyone who trusts in him may have eternal life, instead of being utterly destroyed.
Posted on 08/23/2015 8:51 AM by Larry G
Saturday, 22 August 2015
Is Hell for Babies, or For Adult Sinners?
(taken from Hebrew-streams.org)
Michael Horton, a Protestant Reformed (Calvinist) theologian, recently wrote that all humans are "born into the world guilty in Adam," and thus "condemned already" as babies.
In contrast, the apostle Paul, the evangelical Pharisee (Acts 23:6), said "the wrath of God will come upon the children of disobedience" (Col 3:6) - not because they are human beings but because of their sins:
They did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer [so they are filled with] unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, malice, envy, murder, deceit, idolatry, sorcery, strife, jealousy, drunkenness, carousings . . . committed by "disobedient" people such as slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, inventors of evil, and those disobedient to parents. (Rom 1:28-30)
God judges and condemns people for sinning, which can only happen after birth during one's lifetime. "I forewarn you ... that those who practice such things shall not inherit the Kingdom of God" (Gal 5:21).
Paul didn't say: "Merely because you were born children of Adam and Eve, you shall not enter the Kingdom of Heaven."
Time and again in the Tanakh, the verb "blot out" (Heb. machah) is used to describe removal from the Book.
[While interceding for Israel, Moses said,] "Alas, this people has committed a great sin, and they have made an elohim of gold for themselves. But now, if you will, forgive their sin - and if not, please blot me out from your book which you have written!" (Exod 32:32)
[In response,] the LORD said to Moses, "Whoever has sinned against me, I will blot him of my book." (Exod 32:33)
[About his persecutors, the psalmist prayed:]
May they be blotted out of the Book of Life [sefer hayyim],
And may they not be recorded [katav] with the righteous. (Ps 69:28, Heb. v. 29)
Posted on 08/22/2015 8:46 AM by Larry G
Friday, 21 August 2015
Everyone is in God's Book of Life...(continued)
The Psalmist affirmed:
You have taken account of my wanderings.
Put my tears in your bottle;
Are they not in your book? (Ps 56:8, Heb. v. 9)
Yeshua told his disciples, "the very hairs of your head are all numbered" (Matt 10:30).
Along with these comforting promises comes the warning that our sins, committed during our lives on earth, may provoke God to remove our names from his book.
That is, our continual, willful, unrelenting sins so damage, pollute, and corrupt who we are, that we are no longer recognizable to him. We are no longer pristine creations. We are not members of his godly human family. No longer do we have a place in his presence.
We conclude, therefore, that our files in the heavenly data base also contain our deeds, not only our profiles. And when the heavenly Court convenes in the future, "the books" will be opened (Dan 7:10) and the dead will be judged "according to their deeds" (Rev 20:12).
We must all appear before the judgment seat of Messiah,
that each one may be recompensed for his dees in the body,
according to what he has done: whether good or bad. (2 Cor 5:10)
Posted on 08/21/2015 8:41 AM by Larry G
Thursday, 20 August 2015
Everyone is in God's Book of Life....(for a while)
(taken from Hebrew Streams.org)
Everyone is in God's Book of Life
(... for a While)
When I was made in secret,
And embroidered in the depths of the earth . . .
Your eyes have seen my unformed substance,
And in your Book they were all written:
The days that were crafted for me.
Analogies, metaphors, and imagery are the ancient language of the Scriptures. Perhaps they aren't always literally true. But they convey truth, nonetheless.
Does God, the Creator of the universe, have a book in which he or a secretary angel writes down descriptions of a person's "unformed substance" (Heb. golem) and the number of days they will be alloted on earth - before they are born?
"Book" (Heb. sefer) is a metaphor for God's mind or memory. Imaging a divine sefer conveys the truth that God is attentive to his work and remembers what he has made. In the case of this passage in Psalm 139, he is attentive to the individual person he has "embroidered" (or knitted), before his birth.
Throughout the Hebrew Bible and New Covenant (Testament) is the idea that people's names are recorded in a book in heaven.
A "name" means a person's personality or character, their unique being. Even though some of us share our name with millions of other people, God knows our specific name - that is, the unique "substance" we are made of, our physical and spiritual DNA.
Posted on 08/20/2015 8:36 AM by Larry G
Monday, 17 August 2015
ELOHIM OF THE BIBLE
Taken from: Hebrew Streams, "The OMG (God of western cultures), Paul Sumner
In Hebrew, the most used word for "God" is Elohim. It's a plural noun. In the Bible the same word can be used for the gods of the non-Hebrews.
When used for the God worshiped by the Hebrews the plural elohim takes on another nuance.
Plurality implies breadth, depth and complexity. God is Elohim because He is the complete definition of what "deity" is. He is GOD in the fullest sense of the word, in all capital letters. He, alone, is ELOHIM above all lower-case-elohim who pose and posture as deities.
In contrast, Deuteronomy 10:17 makes the distinction clear.
Not only is God supreme deity, he is also the "Lord of lords." The word "Lord" here is also plural: Adonim. God is also the fullest definition of what it means to be Master, Sovereign, Lord. Thus the parallel affirmation reads:
"YHVH your Elohim is
ELOHIM of elohim, and ADONIM of adonim."
That's the choice Israel was repeatedly commanded to make in ancient times. Their Book continues to repeat the command/offer and force the choice both upon modern Israel and upon the Goyim, the Nations, the non-Jews - to this day and hour.
For our sake, Elohim wants to be the only and chosen One, not a profane OMG.
Posted on 08/17/2015 8:53 AM by Larry G
Sunday, 16 August 2015
The One and Only!!
Scripture says God is a jealous God who wants full attention (Deut 5:9). If He doesn't get it, He will expose the gods we give attention to for what they are: frauds and thieves. Destroyers. He will force the issue on us, make us decide.
He often does this by letting the gods fail us miserably.
He allows them to lead our cultures or families or selves into horrific darkness. If we want them to lord it over us, He allows that - for a time - until we face Him.
Of course, we may hold that final Decision at bay, in spite of evils that befall us. Tragically (often for those near to us), exposing our gods make take years - if we don't want them dethroned from our lives.
When we read about God in the Bible, we're being confronted with ultimate choice. The biblical writers intended to do that.
It's why so many people hate the Bible - even in church and synagogue. But uncommitted neutrality - the great disease of Western consumer cafeteria culture - isn't acceptable to Him.
Neither is syncretistic adoration of other gods. He won't share the throne of deity with impostors.
In other words, the God of the Bible won't respond to invitations to come perform at inter-faith, Higher Power celebrations, even though invoked by a consortium of world religious leaders.
During the 2009 inaugural festivities for President Obama, the American Episcopal homosexual archbishop Gene Robinson publicly prayed to the "God of our many understandings."
The true, Living God won't answer such prayers, or calls, emails, or textings, as though he's a hotline operator at a crisis counselling service or the 24/7 moderator of
The God of the ancient Hebrews wants us to respond to His invitations written in His words. And He wants every one of us to come, via his way.
He is the one and only God.
Posted on 08/16/2015 8:45 AM by Larry G
Friday, 14 August 2015
Chose who you will serve!
Excerpt from "The OMG (God of Western Culture)" by Paul Sumner
There are many gods.
In Western cultures these gods are now demanding equal attention. They're tired of and angry about being discriminated against. And their devotees are doing all they can to suppress if not expel the God of the Bible from his traditional place of honor in the West.
This is a good thing.
This throws us back into ancient times when people confronted the competing deities and made choices about which one was true or not - as when Elijah forced Israel to choose on Har Carmel (1 Kings 18).
People should choose their god, not worship him (or her) merely because he was mixed in with their baby food. Or because she's the goddess whom your fiancÃ© worships, or the god who makes you feel good and gives you "blessings" (material stuff).
Ancient Israel was chosen by God. But in response they also had to choose Him - in every generation. They didn't have a platinum Chosen card with no expiration date.
"Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve," confronted Joshua (Jos 24:15). He meant: Choose between your parental and cultural gods and the LORD, the God of our historical ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
We should choose today.
Posted on 08/14/2015 8:22 AM by Larry G