Share Your World 2015 Week #47

share-your-world2I’m a day late getting back into the game this week. I have been trying to make sure I get a full 24 hours off every week and this week I needed it. I slept almost 12 solid hours from Sunday into Monday and then spent most of the rest of my time lying on the couch too tired to do anything. Yesterday I hoped to hop right back into it. I even came in to the office an hour and half before anyone else to get a jump on things. E-mails and paperwork followed by two meetings, a concert and a rehearsal kept me away from the blogosphere for the entire day. By the time I stopped I had little mind space left for writing. The good news is I did get to work on the novel for a bit before the day went crazy.

But here I am once again an hour and a half before the crowd and launching into the blogosphere by SHARING MY WORLD. Cee’s questions are below and as always you can find a diversity of answers to them by clicking on the underlined link and launching yourself into Ceeland.

In your native language which letter or character describes you best?  Why?

“J” of course because that is my name. Well actually it is Joseph but I am the 5th in line and my son is the 6th so we all have nicknames: My great-grandfather was Joseph; My grandfather was Joe; My father was Jack; I’m J, and my son is Joey.

What is your greatest extravagance?

I am not a very extravagant person. I guess it would have to be eating out. I really like Italian food. Going to the movies is a close second. Oh, I suppose you could put travel in there somewhere. I try to go on a trip every couple of years.

Do you prefer exercising your mind or your body? How frequently do you do either?

I would rather exercise my mind than my body. I try to do both every day. I always get some mental gymnastics in. If I exercise physically three times a week right now I consider that a success

List at least 5 things that makes you laugh.

My kids100_1033

My sister100_1786

My dogs

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My Pastor Christmas hatr 5

My church family100_3866-001

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

I am grateful that last Friday I got so much time to write. This week I am looking forward to Thanksgiving and my birthday! The kids are coming and we are having turkey dinner and cake. What could be better?

The Road Through Romans: The Son Of God In Power

100_5431Today we move into verse 4 of Romans chapter 1 in our study through the Book of Romans. If you have missed any of this study you can find the posts on THE ROAD THROUGH ROMANS PAGE.

 and who through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power[b] by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord. rO. 1:4

I want to begin our study of this verse by studying the one who appointed Jesus to be the Son of God in power. That would be the Spirit of holiness, the πνεῦμα ἁγιωσύνη, the Holy Spirit.

In Christianity we worship the Triune God, the Trinity. That is not three Gods but One God expressed in three distinct personalities. You might not totally get that, and that is O.K. There are lots of things we don’t totally get about God, like the balance between sovereignty and free will (we will get into that in our study of Romans chapter 9). The trinity is one of those things that can be explained but still defies explanation. I just accept that in faith. That said what I know is that each member of the Trinity has a different part in the plan of salvation. Each part is intrinsic to the plan and if at any place the whole Trinity did not work together the whole plan would fall apart.

The Father’s Part: To Create the plan of salvation

The Son’s Part: To Execute the plan of salvation (to die and rise from the dead)

The Spirit’s Part: To reveal the plan of salvation to the recipients of salvation (that would be us humans).

Of the Spirit of Holiness Jesus said, very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: about sin, because people do not believe in me; 10 about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; 11 and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.

12 “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. 13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14 He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.” John 16: 7-15

So according to Jesus it is the Spirit who reveals the need for salvation and it is also the Spirit who applies the power of salvation to our lives. Jesus made that final point clear when he told the Pharisee, Nicodemus, “Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit” John 3:6

So let me conclude this portion of our study with two questions:

Do you think the Holy Spirit reveals the “truth” to everybody?

If so why doesn’t everybody come to Jesus?

 

Pastor Wrinkles Sunday Quips & Quotes 11-22-15

Hey there folks! Here is a new challenge for all my Sunday readers. Every Sunday I will post one quip or quote that struck me during the week. You can join along in the quipping and quoting. Here is what to do.

Publish a post of your own, using one quip or quote that grabbed you during the week. You can add a picture to it if you like or even photograph the quote from it’s source.

Link back to my post

You can include the Pastor Wrinkle’s Q& Q photo in your post if you think my mug worthy of your blog.

Q&Q

“LIberation is dangerous. It’s costly. It’s high drama and high stakes. It calls for enormous risk, superhuman effort, steely nerves. There’s an enemy in the way, a vicious enemy, heavily armed, not to be trifled with. Of all the words we might use to describe what Jesus does here, work isn’t one of them.

Setting free isn’t work.

But being set free can be.

You have to want to get well.” Mark Buchanan, The Rest of God p. 156

The Road Through Romans: The Seed Of David

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 “regarding his Son, who as to his earthly life[a] was a descendant of David,” Romans 1:3

Jesus was a descendant of David. That’s important stuff. If Jesus had not been a Son of David he could not have been Messiah. He would not be qualified to take the throne of Israel.

David was arguably Israel’s most famous king. It was to him that God made this promise, “The LORD declares to you that the LORD himself will establish a house for you. When your days are over and you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, your own flesh and blood, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.” 2 Samuel 7:11-13

Solomon may have built the first temple but that temple fell. The king of David’s line who was prophesied to come, will build a house for God’s name that will last forever.

That is why Matthew makes the first chapter of his book a genealogy of Jesus.

This is the genealogy[a] of Jesus the Messiah[b] the son of David, the son of Abraham:

Abraham was the father of Isaac,

Isaac the father of Jacob,

Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers,

Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar,

Perez the father of Hezron,

Hezron the father of Ram,

Ram the father of Amminadab,

Amminadab the father of Nahshon,

Nahshon the father of Salmon,

Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab,

Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth,

Obed the father of Jesse,

and Jesse the father of King David.

David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah’s wife,

Solomon the father of Rehoboam,

Rehoboam the father of Abijah,

Abijah the father of Asa,

Asa the father of Jehoshaphat,

Jehoshaphat the father of Jehoram,

Jehoram the father of Uzziah,

Uzziah the father of Jotham,

Jotham the father of Ahaz,

Ahaz the father of Hezekiah,

10 Hezekiah the father of Manasseh,

Manasseh the father of Amon,

Amon the father of Josiah,

11 and Josiah the father of Jeconiah[c] and his brothers at the time of the exile to Babylon.

12 After the exile to Babylon:

Jeconiah was the father of Shealtiel,

Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel,

13 Zerubbabel the father of Abihud,

Abihud the father of Eliakim,

Eliakim the father of Azor,

14 Azor the father of Zadok,

Zadok the father of Akim,

Akim the father of Elihud,

15 Elihud the father of Eleazar,

Eleazar the father of Matthan,

Matthan the father of Jacob,

16 and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, and Mary was the mother of Jesus who is called the Messiah. Ma 1:1-15

It is why Luke offers another genealogy (thought to be the genealogy of Mary) in the third chapter of his book.

What writer in his right mind starts a book with a genealogy? No one that’s who. No publisher would publish a book that started with a genealogy, except of course God. The genealogy is of first importance here because unless Jesus is a son of David we have nothing further to discuss. Further unless Jesus is THAT son of David we also have nothing further to discuss.

In Romans 1:3 Paul is not just saying Jesus was a son of David. There were literally thousands of sons of David roaming the earth at that time. Paul was declaring, “2 Samuel 7:13 is fulfilled in Jesus. He is not just a son of David. He is THE SON OF DAVID.”

If you have missed any of our previous discussions concerning the book of Romans they can be found on THE ROAD THROUGH ROMANS PAGE

The Road Through Romans: His Earthly Life

100_5427We are spending our second day on verse three of Romans chapter one. If you missed any of our previous discussions concerning this word by word study through Romans you can find them on THE ROAD THROUGH ROMANS PAGE.

Before we go on today I also want to reference my friend Ben Nelson’s blog series on the KINGDOM OF HEAVEN.   The things that he is writing tie in to some of the discussions we are having here and add interesting counterpoint to my thoughts.

Verse 3 of Romans 1 reads,

“regarding his Son, who as to his earthly life[a] was a descendant of David,”

It’s interesting to contemplate that Jesus’ earthly life is only one very small part of the Son of God’s experience. It’s His earthly life that we tend to emphasize because that is the part of His existence which most directly impacts us. His arrival on earth, his life and teachings, his death and his resurrection were seismic shifts for the human race.

I do sometimes wonder though, out of all the things Jesus has done throughout the course of eternity: creating eternity, creating time, creating the Earth, coming to Earth as a man to die on the cross and rise from the dead,  ascending back to Heaven to rule and reign at the right hand of the Father, which does Jesus place first in His memory?

Does He value the memory of the cross before all else or is that something He tries to push out of His mind? Would He rather remember the glory of creation or the glory of the resurrection?

Maybe it is silly but I do wonder if maybe Jesus’ perspective might not be a little different from ours simply because it happened to Him and not to us.

What do you think?

Death: Punishment or Gift?

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Mick asked a question recently that sparked some deep thinking in me. His question?

“I have wrestled with a number of paradoxical questions over the years. The one I was trying (albeit badly) to pose you with was the apparent inconsistency of Christians (and others), who claim to believe in paradise and eternity, using death as a punishment. Surely, sending someone to paradise is a blessing, and so, no punishment at all? “I go from a corruptible to an incorruptible world”.

My initial response was,

“In orthodox Christian theology Heaven is not the only possible destination after death. The Bible teaches an eternal Heaven and an eternal Hell. The end of all death is not Heaven. Further the destination is not determined by good works or evil works as though God is keeping a tally but according to faith in the power of God to forgive and expunge our evil works as we admit them and turn our hearts from them towards him. The point of Jesus’ death in Christian theology is that He took our punishment on the cross. He was the fulfillment of Isaiah 53.”

But it strikes me that Mick’s question goes even deeper, to the nature of death itself. Is death a punishment or is it a gift?

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Well to answer that we have to look at both the beginning and the end of The Book of Answers, The Bible.

Let’s start at the very beginning.  You may remember the history of Eden. Adam and Eve were placed in the garden to tend it. They were told they could eat from every tree in the garden (including the tree of life mind you) except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Of that tree God said, ” when you eat from it you will certainly die.” Ge. 2:17

This verse, coupled with the fact that Adam and Eve were allowed to eat from the tree of life, indicates that death was not God’s plan for mankind in the beginning. The only way death would have become possible was if Adam and Eve ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Of course we know the rest of the story. Adam and Eve did the one thing God said would bring death.

In Genesis 3 God pronounces his judgment, “By the sweat of your brow
    you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.” Ge. 3:19

Here death is clearly a punishment brought upon mankind for Adam’s sin. But death was only the result. Paul explains the real power behind death when he writes these words to the Roman church,

“…sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned—” Ro. 5:12

And again he writes,  For the wages of sin is death” Ro. 6:23

Honestly though, the news is far worse than this. Death in biblical terms was not just the dying of the body and then an eternity in the presence of the angels frolicking in Elysian fields. Death was separation from God and goodness in an eternity of Hell.

The writer to the Hebrews says it this way,  26Dear friends, if we deliberately continue sinning after we have received knowledge of the truth, there is no longer any sacrifice that will cover these sins. 27There is only the terrible expectation of God’s judgment and the raging fire that will consume his enemies. 28For anyone who refused to obey the law of Moses was put to death without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29Just think how much worse the punishment will be for those who have trampled on the Son of God, and have treated the blood of the covenant, which made us holy, as if it were common and unholy, and have insulted and disdained the Holy Spirit who brings God’s mercy to us. Heb. 10:26-29

Yes death is a punishment BUT IT HAS ALSO BECOME SOMETHING MORE.

If the Bible was all bad news no one would read it. But truthfully while the Bible does deliver bad news, there is far more good news in its pages.

Death is punishment. Death is trouble, but God in His mercy has actually taken the judgment and made it into a potential blessing for those who walk in faith towards Him.

Paul explains this in his letter to the Corinthians when he writes,

So you see, just as death came into the world through a man, now the resurrection from the dead has begun through another man. 22 Just as everyone dies because we all belong to Adam, everyone who belongs to Christ will be given new life. 23 But there is an order to this resurrection: Christ was raised as the first of the harvest; then all who belong to Christ will be raised when he comes back…..

35 But someone may ask, “How will the dead be raised? What kind of bodies will they have?” 36 What a foolish question! When you put a seed into the ground, it doesn’t grow into a plant unless it dies first. 37 And what you put in the ground is not the plant that will grow, but only a bare seed of wheat or whatever you are planting. 38 Then God gives it the new body he wants it to have. A different plant grows from each kind of seed. 39 Similarly there are different kinds of flesh—one kind for humans, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish.

40 There are also bodies in the heavens and bodies on the earth. The glory of the heavenly bodies is different from the glory of the earthly bodies. 41 The sun has one kind of glory, while the moon and stars each have another kind. And even the stars differ from each other in their glory.

42 It is the same way with the resurrection of the dead. Our earthly bodies are planted in the ground when we die, but they will be raised to live forever. 43 Our bodies are buried in brokenness, but they will be raised in glory. They are buried in weakness, but they will be raised in strength. 44 They are buried as natural human bodies, but they will be raised as spiritual bodies. For just as there are natural bodies, there are also spiritual bodies.

45 The Scriptures tell us, “The first man, Adam, became a living person.”[h] But the last Adam—that is, Christ—is a life-giving Spirit. 46 What comes first is the natural body, then the spiritual body comes later. 47 Adam, the first man, was made from the dust of the earth, while Christ, the second man, came from heaven. 48 Earthly people are like the earthly man, and heavenly people are like the heavenly man. 49 Just as we are now like the earthly man, we will someday be like[i] the heavenly man.

50 What I am saying, dear brothers and sisters, is that our physical bodies cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. These dying bodies cannot inherit what will last forever.

51 But let me reveal to you a wonderful secret. We will not all die, but we will all be transformed! 52 It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed. 53 For our dying bodies must be transformed into bodies that will never die; our mortal bodies must be transformed into immortal bodies.

54 Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die,[j] this Scripture will be fulfilled:

“Death is swallowed up in victory.[k]
55 O death, where is your victory?
    O death, where is your sting?[l]

56 For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. 57 But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.

58 So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.” I Cor. 15:21-58

So what we see is this; the very punishment mankind chose in the beginning has been turned into a pathway to eternity with God through the work of Jesus Christ. The good news is that Jesus has chosen to help us.  Our work as Christians is to accept that help. As Paul says,

“If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved. ”  Romans 10:9,10

This has been a very long answer but I hope it helps. I invite questions.

The Road Through Romans: It’s All About Jesus!

100_5431We are finally at verse 3 in our study of the first chapter of Romans and it only took us two weeks to get here!

If you have missed any of the posts concerning the book you can find them on THE ROAD THROUGH ROMANS PAGE

In verse 3 of chapter 1 Paul states that the gospel was,Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh;

The gospel may have been preached even by the Prophets of the Old Testament but the gospel the good news finds its root in Jesus Christ God’s Son. Jesus is the good news. The whole Bible is about Jesus. It is history which is HIS STORY.  Without Jesus there is no Good news. Without Jesus there is no creation. Without Jesus the universe would simply fall apart. He is the Alpha, the Omega, the Beginning and the End. He is the God particle, the Word that holds everything together. He was there at the start and He will be waiting there at the finish. He is the Author of life and faith and also its chief end, goal and aim.

As the old song says, “He is my everything. He is my all.”

How about you?