Jan 30

Atheists have no songs. But Christians do

Steve Martin has recorded a clever, funny and darkly profound song-skit entitled “Atheists have no songs.”

Creative, gifted Christians have given the followers of Jesus songs to sing that praise God and enrich and challenge their lives.

Christians have built their musical heritage on the shoulders of the Jewish psalms and songs preserved in the Hebrew Scriptures.

Sam Robson has creatively recorded some of the great hymns of the faith in beautiful arrangements.

It Is Well With My Soul

How Great Thou Art

I Need Thee. O, I Need Thee

Listen to these recordings and reflect on our heritage.

When have you been moved and challenged by music?

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Jan 29

Have you ever prayed for someone you did not trust? …. Like Abraham did

During one of our recent Sunday services our pastor and a missionary talked about God’s visit to Abraham recorded in Genesis 18. Their talk caused me to think about the relationship between passages that I have blogged about in the past.

God’s visit to Abraham

Abraham practiced hospitality toward three visitors and at some point recognized that he was serving God and two of his angelic servants.

Abraham was a friend of God

God had chosen Abraham to be a source of blessing for all nations. Abraham obeyed God. Abraham was called a friend of God and he treated Abraham like a friend. Abraham went with the men as they left and God decided to tell him about his plans. (2 Chronicles 20:7; Isaiah 41:8; James 2:22)

Jesus’ followers are his friends

The language is very similar to Jesus’ words to his disciples in the upper room the night before he died. Jesus told his disciples that they were his friends if they did what he commanded. They were no longer mere servants because he would tell them what he was going to do. (John 15:12-17)

Abraham tried to be a blessing to the people of Sodom

What did Abraham do when God’s told him about his plans for Sodom?

He prayed that the city would be spared for the sake of the righteous people in it. He did not pray that God would take the righteous people out and destroy those that were left in the city.

He knew that the King of Sodom was corrupt and would not accept any payment from him when he rescued his people.

However, he was to be a blessing to all the nations of the world and here he grasped his role.

He was not a blessing to the Egyptians earlier but brought them close to cursing.

In the end, the city was destroyed and Lot and his daughters were rescued but Abraham prayed for the entire city.

Jesus has told us about his plans

Similar to God’s treatment of Abraham, Jesus told his disciples, and us with them, about his plans.

He told us that he was going away and would return for us.

He told us to be fruitful while he was away.

He told us that we would not fit in in the world.

His final words before he ascended were that, after receiving the Holy Spirit, his followers would be his witnesses throughout the world. (Acts 1:6-11)

When have you prayed for those you do not trust?

What are you doing to be part of God’s plans?

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Jan 26

I just updated two posts on my blog

Announcing the Birth of Messiah.

Who sinned that this man was born blind?

Enjoy

Bob

Jan 21

A New Feature on My Blog

On the right column there is now a list of the types of posts.

Some of you wanted to know how many book reviews I have written. This will sort the posts by type.

Enjoy

Bob

Jan 20

I just updated two posts on my blog

I’ve been asked why I’m updating some of the posts on my blog

I’ve received feedback that parts of them are unclear or they could use better organization.

Go…I will show you. Go … I will tell you.

Liar, Lunatic or Lord.

 

 

Jan 19

Is the Gospel Really For Everyone?

Luke

Luke was a Gentile who came to Christ when Jews dominated Christian leadership.

He was with Paul at Troas when they crossed the sea to bring the Gospel to Greece. (Acts 16:10-17; the first of the “we” sections of Acts)

He was with Paul when he returned to Jerusalem. (Acts 20:5-21:18)

He was with Paul during his trip to Rome and his first imprisonment in the capital city. (Acts 27:1-28:16)

Two of the letters that Paul wrote from jail were to the church at Colossae and its leader, Philemon. Luke is mentioned in both of them. (Colossians 4:14; Philemon 24)

In Paul’s last letter when he asked Timothy to try to come and see him before his execution, Luke was the only one with him. (2 Timothy 4:6-22)

Tumultuous times

This was a tumultuous time for Christians.

Luke joined Paul in the years when Christianity began to take root among the Gentiles.

There was a pointed confrontation between Peter and Paul at Antioch about whether Jewish Christians could have complete fellowship with Gentile Christians. (Galatians 2:11-14).

A meeting of leaders in Jerusalem had just decided that Gentiles did not have to become Jews in order to become Christians. (Acts 15:1-35)

The Gentile Christian community would grow and become the majority after the Jewish revolts against Rome in AD 70 and 135, if not before.

Luke’s Gospel

When Paul was imprisoned in Caesarea before being sent to Rome, Luke had time to research his Gospel.

He was able to talk to eyewitnesses.

He may have even met Mary.

Matthew had already written a Gospel that fit the mindset of Jewish believers. He would write one from his Gentile perspective.

Luke’s Perspective

Luke noticed some things that the other Gospel writers did not.

As a physician he had an interest in details that the others glossed over.

When Peter drew his sword on the night of Jesus’ betrayal, Luke, the physician, recorded that he cut off the right ear of the servant. Matthew and Mark do not mention which ear. (Luke 22:50)

He was also a Gentile. When the Gospel writers recorded the ministry of John the Baptist, Luke recorded the complete prophecy of Isaiah 40:3-5. He included the words, “All flesh shall see the salvation of God.” Matthew and Mark left these words out.

The Gospel is For Everyone

Luke recorded John’s preaching and noted the different groups in the audience.

The crowds were Jewish and John suggested that they would say that they did not need to repent because they descended from Abraham.

The Tax Collectors were Jews. However, they were traitors who took money for the oppressors. Some of the money was an overcharge for them to keep.

The soldiers, if Roman, were Gentiles. If Jews, they were traitors who worked for the oppressors.

All of them asked if John’s call to repentance was for them. They were all clearly told that it was.

They were all expected to bring the fruits of repentance when they turned away from their past life to come to Messiah.

John was Messiah’s forerunner.

The gospel was really for everyone.

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Jan 18

Thank you for the blog journey of 2014

I recently received a report of the activity on my blog for 2014.

There were visits from 72 countries

The most visits were from the United States no surprise.

The most visits in Latin America were from Brazil, Mexico and Colombia.

The most in Asia were from the Philippians, Russia and Malaysia. Some of the posts were used in a small group in a church in Malaysia.

The most in Africa were from Angola, Kenya, and South Africa.

There were five visits from Saudi Arabia; four from the United Arab Emirates; two from Pakistan and two from Malta.

There was one visit each from Albania, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Jordan, Kazakhstan, 
Azerbaijan, and 
Algeria
.

FYI

Bob

Jan 14

How much do you know about Christians who face death every day for their faith?…..How much should you know?

Christians are part of the Body of Christ that has grown since the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost almost two thousand years ago.

As Christianity has spread throughout the world it has encountered those who hate those who follow Jesus.

Today many, if not most, of the Christians in the world face persecution every day.

Open Doors is a ministry dedicated to supporting these brother and sisters in Christ.

Go to their website. Get informed. Pray and support this part of the Body of Christ.

How did Open Doors begin
“The year was 1955. A young Dutchman was burdened with the desire to reach out to Christians in Eastern Europe, where Christianity was becoming more and more illegal. He took his first trip to visit Christians in Poland, and was amazed at what he saw: Entire underground churches with only one Bible to share!

Brother Andrew knew he had to do something. Two years later, he arrived at the same border in a VW Bug filled with Bibles. He knew that if he was caught with the Bibles, he would be arrested, so he prayed: “Lord- In Your Word, You made blind men see. Now, I am praying that you would make seeing eyes blind.” And God answered his prayer!

Brother Andrew was able to deliver Bibles and training materials to Christians in Eastern Europe, allowing Christians to freely read God’s Word in those countries.

Today, Open Doors – the ministry started by Brother Andrew- has expanded to strengthen persecuted Christians in over 60 countries!” (From the Open Doors About Page)

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Jan 13

What does it mean when you call yourself a Christian?

Usually we get our names from our parents.

Some of us are named after our parents. Some are named after relatives or famous people. Some are named after our parent’s favorite food, etc.

Some of us like our names and some of us don’t.

Some take a bold step and change their names.

C. S. Lewis announced as a child that he was Jack. David becomes Dave and his mother refuses to comply. Earnest Hemingway continued to call his oldest son Bumby long after he wanted to be called Jack.

Some people use a breaking point in their life to change their name. They go to college or move to a new city and use a new different name. They move to a country where their birth name feels out of place in a new culture. They have family and friends from early in life that still call them by their birth name. Uncomfortable or humorous moments occur when the old and new groups meet.

Some people’s names were changed by someone else as a reminder of another’s authority.

Pharaoh changed the name of Joseph. (Genesis 41:44-45)

Nebuchadnezzar changed the names of Daniel and his friends. (Daniel 1:1-7)

God changed the name of Abraham, Sarah, and Jacob. (Genesis 17:1-8; 15-16; 32:22-32)

Jesus changed the name of Simon. (John 1:40-42)

What does it mean when you call yourself a Christian?

The disciples of Jesus were first called Christians in Antioch. (Acts 11:25-26) Christians have embraced the name ever since. We are Christ’s people. We should live in ways that the world sees Christ in us.

What has changed in your life since you became a Christian?

What needs to change as your pilgrimage continues?

If you have any thoughts, please comment.

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Jan 11

I’ve just added a new feature to my blog

In the right column there is a box of Blog Topics listing the subjects of my blogs.

The larger the font the more blogs on the subject.

Click a topic and a list of blogs on the subject will appear.

Give it a try.

Let me know what you think.

Bob.

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