Dec 10

I have just updated My Blog Plan

I have just made some minor updates to My Blog Plan to reflect my plans for 2015.

FYI

Bob

Dec 10

A New Feature On My Blog

I’ve just added a new feature to my blog.

On the right column is a list of the most popular posts.This is measured by recent views.

Enjoy.

Please feel free to suggest other improvements

Bob

Dec 08

Three things that happen when you meet God

Everything was ready. Everything had happened according to plan but something was missing.

God had spoken to Joshua and called him to take Moses’ place. He told him that he would be with the Jews and they would conquer the land promised hundreds of years before to Abraham. (Joshua 1:1-9)

The people swore allegiance to Joshua and promised him their obedience. (Joshua 16-18)

Rahab, a Canaanite, defected and helped the Jewish spies. (Joshua 2)

Just as God parted the waters when Moses led the people out of the land of slavery so God used Joshua to lead the people through the dried Jordan River into the Promised Land. Memorial stones were set up commemorated this great event. (Joshua 3; 4)

After that miracle, the people stood in awe of Joshua. (Joshua 4:14)

Joshua continued to do the right things. The men were circumcised and the people celebrated the first Passover in the soon-to-be-conquered Promised Land (Joshua 5:1-12)

Everything was going perfectly but one thing was missing.

After all of these advances Joshua was walking near Jericho, the site of the next challenge. He saw a man with a drawn sword and asked him if her was for Israel or for their enemies. The man responded that he was the commander of the Lord’s army. Joshua bowed face upon the ground and asked for a word from this heavenly leader. He was told to take his sandals off because he was on holy ground. The account ended by simply saying that Joshua did what he was told to do.

No further explanation was necessary. The words were the same as those to Moses at the burning bush. Joshua had met God. God himself would fight for them. (Joshua 5:13-15; Exodus 3:1-6)

When Joshua met God three things happened.

  1. God was worshipped.
  2. Joshua was humbled.
  3. Joshua was ready for service.

God can come near to us as we read his written word, hear the word preached or taught in another way, when we pray or through miraculous visions which are probably as rare now as then.

When have you seen God?

How were these three truths seen in your time of closeness to God?

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The post first appeared on Bob Krupp’s blog

Dec 03

When did a Canaanite prostitute show more faith than a Jewish man?

God said that all nations of the world would be blessed through Abraham. (Genesis 12:1-3)

Within the Jewish story of the Hebrew Scriptures are pictures of God reaching out to Gentiles. A Jewish slave girl led Naaman, the Syrian general, to the prophet Elisha who healed his leprosy and brought him closer to the true God (2 Kings 5). Jonah was sent to Nineveh, the stronghold of the hated Assyrians. The Queen of Sheba heard of Solomon’s wisdom and came from Africa (1 Kings 10). Ruth came from the cursed Moabites to become the ancestor of David, the line of Jewish kings and ultimately Messiah.

The exodus from Egypt and conquest of the Promised Land forty years later showed God’s victory over the false gods of Egypt and Canaan. In this powerful demonstration of the greatness of the God who remembered and kept his covenant with Abraham is the story of Rahab the Canaanite prostitute.

She was put in contrast with Achan, a Jewish man who had no concept of the character, power, and desires of God.

She was a Canaanite prostitute and he was from the tribe of Judah, the tribe of David and Jesus.

She and her family should have died but survived and prospered. He and his family should have prospered but died.

Her nation died without her. His nation prospered without him.

She hid spies from her king on her roof. He hid loot from his God under his tent.

She heard about the God of Israel and feared him. He saw God’s miracles and did not fear him.

The thread hung from her window was the same color as the blood on the posts at Passover.

She lived and was listed as a hero of the faith in Hebrews, chapter 11. He died and his name became a symbol of destruction.

Do you ever fail to live up to your spiritual potential?

When have you been surprised by the spiritual successes of others?

In this post I have been influenced by the observations of Duvall and Hays. Grasping God’s Word. 2001, page 298.

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Dec 01

What should we learn from the parables about the kingdom?

In the last two parables of Matthew 13, Jesus taught about two issues that have troubled the church for its entire history. How do we handle belief and unbelief before Jesus returns and what is the relationship between Jesus’ message and the Jewish teaching before he came.

The parable of the fishing net reiterates the surety of judgment taught in the earlier parable of the wheat and the weeds but makes it clear that the ultimate separating will take place when Jesus returns. (Matthew 13:47-50)

Christians must still deal with sin in our own lives and in the community but we can be confident that the true and ultimate separation between belief and unbelief will take place in the end times.

The last parable talks about the master of a house who has old and new treasures to bring out. The disciples are like this master if they understand these parables. (Matthew 13:51-52)

Christians have treasures from the old and new-  God’s written revelation before and after Jesus. Christians must not abandon the Hebrew Scriptures nor have a canon with a canon focusing on their favorites texts. We need to appreciate the entirety of God’s written word.

It must be noted that Christ’s teaching about his kingdom came after his rejection by the religious leaders and before his rejection by the people of his hometown.

Jesus reached out to the leaders, the crowds, and his disciples during his time on earth.

The religious leaders rejected him and said he was able to perform miracles because he worked in collusion with Satan. (Matthew 12:22-32)

The crowds eventually grew tired of him when he demanded that they needed to focus on him and not on other benefits from his work. (John 6:60-71))

His primary focus during the last months of his first coming was to prepare his disciples to carry on his work after he was crucified, rose from the dead and ascended to the Father.

Do we focus on the rejection of God by others more than seeking a growing closeness in our own pilgrimage with him?

Do we focus on our favorite parts of Scripture or do we regularly read and meditate on all the Scriptures?

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Nov 25

Is there a right way to come to Jesus?

After the religious leaders rejected Jesus, he taught his followers about his kingdom in four pairs of parables. (Matthew 13)

The first pair taught that the message of the kingdom would be rejected. The problem was not in the message but in the soil that received the seed. There would be unbelief throughout history and in the final judgment those who believe and those who do not believe would be separated. Unbelief would be punished and belief would be rewarded. (Matthew 13:1-9; 18-30; 36-43)

The second pair of parables taught that the kingdom would start small and that its growth would be internal. It would also growth surprisingly large considering its small beginning. (Matthew 13:31-33))

The third pair talked about how people enter the kingdom.

Is if possible for people to come to faith differently?

The seed is the same but people may receive it differently.

The first parable was about the person who stumbled over a great treasure in a field. He was not looking for anything but found the treasure that would change his life. He must give all he has to buy the field and the treasure. (Matthew 13:44)

The second parable of the pair, parable of the pearl merchant, created an image of a person who was looking for the true message. He searched and looked at other pearls but finally found the pearl that was the truest, best, and worthy of giving up everything his has. Some people come to the kingdom after searching various messages of salvation, various religious. (Matthew 13:45-46)

I discussed this pair earlier when I talked about the conversion of the second century teacher Justin Martyr who tried various philosophies before he came to faith in Jesus. He sought and found the most worthy pearl.

One is looking and finds. One is not looking and finds. They both give everything for the treasure. The same message but different paths to the treasure. Same faith…different pilgrimages.

Were you a seeker when you found Jesus?

Are you willing to accept others who came to faith through a different path?

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Nov 17

Jesus’ Kingdom will start out small and the growth may not be obvious

The religious leaders rejected Jesus. His disciples must have been surprised that those who studied the Scriptures so intently did not realize that Jesus was the Messiah.

Jesus taught four pairs of parables in Matthew, chapter 13, to explain the nature of the kingdom and why the religious leaders had rejected him. The first pair explained the rejection of the kingdom and predicted continued unbelief. They were covered in an earlier post.

The second pair, the mustard seed and the leaven, focused on how the kingdom would grow. (Matthew 13:31-33)

The mustard seed kingdom would start out small and grow to a remarkable size considering its small beginning.

The yeast showed a small beginning giving a surprising result. It also showed a growth that was internal, almost unseen.

Jesus fed thousands but there were about 120 people in the upper room waiting for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 1:15)

Jesus probably healed more people than were in the upper room.

The disciples probably expected a dramatic acceptance by the leaders and instantaneous growth.

There would be explosive growth but it would be after the death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus. It would be after the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

What type of growth do we expect from our churches or other ministries?

Can we accept a small beginning and slow, almost unseen, growth?

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Nov 15

The blessed father of the faithful failed to be a blessing

God reached out to Abraham and his words brought hope for restoration to a fallen world.

God called Abraham to leave his home and embark on a journey of faith. He promised him a land, descendants, and blessing… blessing for him and blessing though him to the rest of humanity. (Genesis 12:1-3)

Abraham obeyed and became the father of the faithful.

God led Moses to compile a record of the early events of human history and the life of Abraham, the ancestor of the Jews. He wrote an honest account of Abraham’s struggles. He has great successes in his walk of faith but also surprising failures.

The first recorded event after his call was a failure. There was a famine in the land of promise and Abraham went to Egypt where the Nile gave more stable crops. He lied and made Sarah a collaborator in a plan to pass her off as his sister. She was taken into Pharaoh palace and Abraham was treated well because he was her brother.

However, the Egyptians came under a curse because their king had taken Abraham’s wife. The Egyptians found out about the ruse and sent him out of their land. (Genesis 12:10-20

Moses may have seen Abraham’s trip to Egypt as a precursor to the experience of the Jews in his day. Like Abraham the Jews left Egypt richer than when they came. There were also plagues on the Egyptians. However, in Abraham’s time the Egyptians were deceived. In Moses’ day they knowingly disobeyed God.

People were to be blessed through Abraham but he brought a curse on the Egyptians in the first recorded trip after his call.

God’s people are to be a blessing in a fallen world.

When have you been a blessing to others?

When have you failed to be a blessing?

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Nov 10

Simeon’s message of greatness and suffering

When Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to the temple to be dedicated they met Simeon. Simeon had been told by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he saw the Messiah. (Luke 2:25-26)

God moved him to go to the temple that day. He held Jesus in his arms and blessed God. He said that now he could die because God had kept his promise. He had seen God’s salvation. He said that this salvation was prepared in the presence of all people and would be a light to the Gentiles. (Luke 2:28-32)

Luke was a Gentile who had not seen Jesus during his earthly ministry. He had heard from eyewitnesses. As he researched his Gospel he was told about the events around the birth of Jesus. As a physician he was probably very intrigued by the claims of a virgin birth and listen with interest to the details he heard. He heard of Simeon and heard that Simeon was led by God to praise God for his revelation to the Gentiles. In the earlier hymns of praise Jesus was seen primarily as the Jewish Messiah. But Simeon expanded this vision to include Gentiles, including Luke. (Luke 1:1-4)

Also, when Luke quoted Isaiah’s prophecy about John the Baptist he quoted more than Matthew and Mark. He continued to “all flesh shall see the salvation of God.” Again, he moved beyond the ministry of Messiah to the Jews to the role of Jesus as the Savior of the world. (Luke 3:6)

Luke also included Simeon’s words to Mary that Jesus would cause the fall as well as the rising of many and that she would suffer as well. The earlier hymns were much more optimistic. (Luke 2:33-35).

Luke saw the gospel as applying to all people. It reveals their hearts and would cause people to fall as well as rise. He also wrote from the beginning of his account that Jesus would suffer.

At times, do we lose sight of the price paid by the suffering Messiah for our salvation?

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Oct 31

Why doesn’t everyone believe in Jesus? Should we change the message if they don’t respond? In the end, everyone will be saved, won’t they?

During his time on earth Jesus preached to the crowds, presented his Messianic credentials to the leaders and trained the twelve to carry on his work after he died.

The leaders saw the miracles, heard the words, and saw how he acted. After a time they reached their decision. Jesus did what he did because he was working as an agent of Satan, the great enemy of God’s people.

Jesus violated the legal interpretations of the leaders and defending his actions as the proper application of God’s law. Then he further confronted them by healing a man in a synagogue on the Sabbath. Matthew then notes that the leaders protested Jesus’ violation of their interpretations but they went out and plotted how that might kill him, also on the Sabbath. (Matthew 12:1-14)

Jesus then healed a demon-oppressed blind mute. Some who saw it wondered if this was the Messiah. The Pharisees then gave their verdict. Jesus did these things because he worked with Satan. (Matthew 12:22-24)

Jesus responded that this thinking was illogical and dangerous. The miracle did not prove that he was working with Satan but that he was superior to Satan and rejecting the only Messiah was a decision that was fatal to any relationship with God. (Matthew 12:25-32)

The leaders demanded another sign and Jesus cryptically pointed to the resurrection as the sign that would give the fullest validation of his ministry. (Matthew 12:38-42)

When Jesus was rejected by the religious leaders, his followers must have wondered about the future. What was Jesus’ kingdom? What did this rejection mean?

Jesus then spoke to the people. He spoke from a boat to a crowd gathered on the shore. (Matthew 13:1-2)

He told them stories or parables to illustrate what his kingdom would be like. There are eight stories in Matthew, chapter thirteen, which are in four pairs.

The first pair illustrated the reality of unbelief. In the parable of the sower the same seed is sown to four types of ground. It is cast widely. Some soil is resistant, some soil is shallow, and some soil is distracted and there is no fruit. But, some soil is fruitful.

Some hearers are hardened; some are shallow; and, some are full of other things more important to them.

Some hearers are receptive to the message and they are fruitful members of the kingdom. (Matthew 13:3-8; 18-23)

The second story was about wheat, a desired plant, and weeds, an invasive unfruitful plant. These plants will exist together in the field until the harvest. The weeds will be burned and the wheat will be gathered and kept. The story illustrated that end of this age there will be those who reject Jesus’ kingdom. They will be cast into fiery judgement and Jesus’ followers will enter the eternal kingdom. (Matthew 13:24-30; 36-43)

What doesn’t everyone believe in Jesus?

Should we change the message if they don’t respond?

In the end, everyone will be saved, won’t they?

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