Tag Archive: word


Above It All

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This Mother’s Day…

As believers, let us never forget we can rejoice and praise the Lord in both the good times and in the bad.

We all have so many hopes and dreams, especially for our lives and our children’s lives, yet often this world sends storms beyond our control and we can do nothing but simply watch as our course and the courses of those we deeply love are altered. Sometimes these changes are, in part, due to decisions we have made. Other times, they are just the result of living in a broken and fallen world.

Special days like Mother’s Day can be so exciting, a time to thank our mothers and be thanked as mothers, yet it’s also a time when sorrow can quickly invade. There are many circumstances, some of which I understand first hand, that have affected families, ones that cause days like today to be quite difficult. Regardless of time, wounds are often still present. But dare we never forget that even in the worst of storms, the sun still shines above it all.

Praise Jesus, because for the born again believer, there’s eternal hope beyond the temporal storms and successes, above the peaks and valleys of this world. Regardless of the tragedies, trials, broken hearts and even beyond the earthly successes, there’s a wonderful kingdom above it all. This heavenly kingdom is eternal and available for any and all who choose to receive the full and free forgiveness of Jesus Christ. “Come unto Me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28. “I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believes on Me should not abide in darkness.” John 12:46.

Despite what we’ve been told, true life is not the sum total of all our expectations, experiences, hopes, and desires. Life is so much more than us. True life is Jesus Christ and no matter what storms come across our course, as Christians, we can still know victory because our God is outside and above it all. Jesus endured it all and laid down it all. He became sin for us, so we could finally be brought above it all to know what life’s really all about.

He became the lowest of all and then raised up to highest of all to provide the only way for mankind to receive Him as our All in All! Only because of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection can we have true life, ETERNAL life! In John 17, Jesus reminds us, “And this is life eternal, that they might know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent.”  John 17:3. The Christian life is not easy. In fact, it’s frankly impossible. Only Jesus lived it perfectly and only Jesus can live His life in us. True life is only discovered when we once and for all give Jesus the reins, letting Him lead us Home to our Heavenly Father.

But the old life I chose to mortify still knocks on the door of my heart and mind. It still wants to be appreciated, noticed, and coddled. It becomes jealous when anyone else gets the attention, most of all Jesus.The world, the flesh, and the devil will often remind us of the tragedies and fleshly triumphs, desiring nothing less than for us to lose sight of the Son above, all together forgetting about our risen Lord and Savior.  And days like today can sometimes become grand opportunities for the flesh to come knocking.

Instead of opening the door, may I embrace the true Comforter, the Savior and sanctifier of my soul. May I take my eyes off myself and instead look intently at the only One I truly cannot live without. May I learn to embrace the difficulties this planet offers as opportunities to steadfastly grow closer to my Rock and Refuge.

The Lord has called us to so much more than we can ever comprehend this side of Heaven. May we take time to love Jesus today, worshiping Him in spirit and in truth. And then let us simply continue serving Him, letting Him take care of every outcome. There are perhaps many tragedies filling your heart today. May the Lord bring us above them all, empowering us to continue running the heavenly race He has set before us with joy and grace in our hearts!

May we simply abide in Christ, continually feasting on His wonderful Word. Then let us continue faithfully planting and watering His Word in all those He puts in our path. We cannot truly change the course of anyone, but we can point them to the only One who can. His light will shine, even piercing through the darkest of storms, and with it comes true life. What an absolute privilege and blessing to wholeheartedly love and follow Jesus, knowing He truly is above it all!

“Then spoke Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” John 8:12

“Come unto Me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

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Parents: Simply Sign Posts

truth-sign-300x238Raising children can seem like such a daunting task, one that’s often filled with worry and doubt. “What if I make a mistake?” “What if I don’t teach them correctly?”  “What if…”

Although there are some helpful resources from people who have gone before us, may we never forget that our most important job is to be a sign post, pointing our children to Jesus.

The flesh so often wants to compare itself with others, allowing condemnation, frustration, and even pride to enter in when we don’t think we’re measuring up. Of course, there’s definitely something to be said for diligence and growing in our skills as parents, however it’s easy to get off course when we fix our eyes on men.  Being a sign post means we need to know where to point our children.  We must choose to keep our eyes on Jesus and His Word so we can point them in the right direction.

Perhaps there are things you wish you could go back and redo, but the truth is yesterday’s gone and tomorrow’s not here yet, so let’s focus on the Lord and serve Him faithfully by yielding to the Holy Spirit and His Word, letting Him work mightily in and through us today. Let the love and joy and truth of Jesus fill us to overflowing, spilling into the hearts and minds of our children. With the hustle and bustle of everyday life and this techno-revolution before us, may we take time to enjoy a blessed meal of God’s Word as a family today. May we remind our children that there is nothing more meaningful than Jesus and His wonderful Word.

When it’s all said and done, at the end of the day, when your children are grown up and out of the house, will they be able to see you simply as a sign post of Jesus?  Take time each and everyday enjoying the goodness of God, feasting on His Word, and pointing your children to Jesus and Him alone.  There’s no greater privilege or pursuit in being a parent or in being a Christian.

“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” 3 John 1:4

“And we know that the Son of God is come, and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him that is true, and we are in Him that is true, even in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.” 1 John 5:20

 

Jeremiah 29:11 was Cherrie’s and my marriage life verse. It held us through many twists and turns, reminding us to always keep our eyes on Jesus! Hebrews 12:2. For those believing couples struggling through their marriages, please don’t give into the fleshly pride which daily plagues our hearts and minds. Humble wedding rings and bible-noqHyourselves, preferring one another above your own desires. Romans 12:9-10, James 4:10. Submit to the Lord, not your feelings. James 4:8. Draw near to God! James 4:7.  Keep your eyes on Jesus. Hebrews 12:2. Pray that the Lord will give you His eyes and heart toward your spouse. John 13:34. Be slow to speak and quick to listen. James 1:19. Don’t let the sun go down on your anger. Ephesians 4:26. Love one another as Christ has loved you. John 13:34. Let Jesus be the Head.  Colossians 1:18. Be a minister to your spouse. 1 Timothy 4:6. Work harder at your marriage than your job! Colossians 3:23-24. God’s mercies are new every morning. Lamentations 3:22-23. So should it be with us. Be merciful, slow to anger, letting the peace of God rule your heart. Proverbs 14:29, Colossians 3:15. Let the Lord’s Light examine you and examine yourself. Psalm 26:2, 2 Corinthians 13:5. Take the log out of your eye so you can lovingly remove the speck in your spouse’s. Luke 6:42.

Think of this… If you got a call right now that your spouse was being held hostage, would you be filled with a desire to pray and lovingly rescue him/her?  Remember that love. Remember we are all broken sinners saved by the grace of Jesus Christ alone. Ephesians 2:8-9, 1 Timothy 1:15-16. Be tenderhearted, forgiving one another as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven you. Ephesians 4:32. Bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:1-2. Then when the burdens get heavy, remember to let Jesus bear them. Look at Him and learn of Him. His yoke is easy and His burden light. Matthew 11:30. Do not worry, instead seek first the Kingdom of God. Matthew 6:23.

Remember, we don’t live by bread alone, but by every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God. Matthew 4:4, Luke 4:4. Just as we should sit together over dinner, so sit together over the Word. Feast regularly and consistently on God’s Word both independently and as a couple. Psalm 34:8. Let Jesus be in the midst. Matthew 18:20. Let the Holy Spirit, not worldly methodologies or psychologies and philosophies be your teacher. 1 John 2:27. Let Jesus be the One who renews and transforms you and your marriage.  Romans 12:2, Titus 3:4-7.

Earnestly pray for one another (even when you don’t feel like it) and pray together. James 5:16. It’s hard to be mad at someone you pray for and pray with. Pray, pray, and then pray some more!!! Romans 8:261 Thessalonians 5:17. Remember, your marriage is a microcosm of Jesus and His bride, the church. Ephesians 5:25-33. Just as He has nurtured and bound together born again believers around the world for centuries, so must He be the One who knits you as one. Ephesians 4:16, Colossians 2:2-3.

Stick with it. Don’t grow weary in doing well. Galatians 6:9, 2 Thessalonians 3:13. Don’t believe the lies of this world, of self, or the enemy of our souls. John 8:44. He only seeks to kill, steal and destroy. His pleasure is in tearing down, not building up. Jesus came so we could have abundant spiritual life in Him. John 10:10, John 15.

Hang tight to Jesus and again, never stop praying for one another. Romans 8:26, 1 Thessalonians 5:25, James 5:16. You are not stuck when you’re abiding in Christ.  Trust in Him!  2 Samuel 22:31, Psalm 18:2. Let Jesus be your comfort, not your spouse. Psalm 119:76, Isaiah 12:1, Acts 9:31, Romans 15:4.  Let Jesus be the One who brings fulfillment. 1 Corinthians 15:28.  Remember, Jesus came to save, not destroy.  Luke 9:56, John 10:10. Let Him do His marvelous work. Let patience have her perfect work. James 1:4. Be bold. Speak the truth, but always in love. Ephesians 4:15. Cast your cares upon Him, for He cares for you! Psalm 55:22, 1 Peter 5:7. Don’t lose heart. 2 Corinthians 4:16. Jesus has overcome the world!  John 16:33, 1 John 5:4.

“Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” Colossians 3:12-17

No Jesus, No Thanks!

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An atheistic evolutionist would have us believe there is nothing more than matter, yet if matter is all there is, then how would an immaterial concept such as “THANKS” ever originate? “Thanks” has no color, no shape, no texture, and no taste. A rock, for example, is matter in a solid form, yet it cares nothing about being thankful. In fact, we could say a rock cannot even care, let alone be thankful. The same could be said for all solids, liquids, and gases. Thankfulness is a concept that goes way beyond the material. So if it didn’t come from matter, then where did thanks originate from?

Nonphysical concepts such as thankfulness cannot be derived from matter, but instead must come from something immaterial. And to say that thankfulness came from some sort of impersonal “higher power” energy or force would be foolish. Mindless energy and impersonal forces would be unable to produce such a personal concept as thanks.

Thanks is not simply a figment of our imagination found in the dictionary and it is not the mindless product of some impersonal force. It could only originate from One who is both personal and loving. In truth, thanksgiving must stem from a loving heart, one that is not self-seeking. The Bible describes this kind of love in 1 Corinthians 13, “Love suffers long, and is kind; love envies not; love vaunts not itself, is not puffed up…” 1 Corinthians 13:4. This love comes from the personal God who is love (1 John 4:8,16), the God who demonstrated His love in sending His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to be the Savior of the world. (John 3:16-17)

Jesus is not only the Savior, He is the Creator and coming King. (Colossians 1:11-20) He is the King of kings and the Lord of lords. He truly is the Son of God and God the Son. Without Jesus there would be no universe and no earth. There would be no salvation. There would be no love and without love there would be no thanks! Truly it can be said, “No Jesus, No Thanks!” During this season, let us not only be thankful, but be sure to give thanks to only One who truly deserves it all, the Great God and Savior, Jesus Christ!

“Give thanks unto the LORD, call upon His name, make known His deeds among the people. Sing unto Him, sing psalms unto Him, talk you of all His wondrous works. Glory in His holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the LORD. Seek the LORD and His strength, seek His face continually.” 1 Chronicles 16:8-11

A Palette of Pageantry

Church EventWhy do we get so excited about the outward business and activity of the visible church yet often have so little thought or joy concerning the Lord’s eternal work within the inner man?

In the unseen heart and mind the Lord continues transforming and renewing the broken and weak into His victorious and sanctified saints. He mysteriously and gloriously plants His Eternal Word into all who are willing, breathes His breath within, and by His power, the Seed grows and grows, producing eternal fruit to both nourish that very person and those hungry and weary travelers he meets along the way.

Much of this amazing work takes place in the unseen realm, only becoming visible over periods of time. This is the godly life made known in and through true believers! This is what Paul, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, called the mystery of godliness, “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Colossians 1:27

This is truly the marvelous work of the invisible God, yet instead of joyfully walking by faith, we too often choose to walk by sight; becoming enamored with the outward accouterments and pomp now calling itself the (post)modern church.

Sadly, many have traded the desire to marvel and rejoice over the inward work of the Holy Spirit for a palette filled with the pleasantries of outward pageantry. Instead, let us return to the old paths. Let us truly taste and see that the Lord is good! (Jeremiah 6:16; Psalm 34:8)Bible Light Bulb Image

“Seeing you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that you love one another with a pure heart fervently: being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which lives and abides forever. For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower thereof falls away: but the word of the Lord endures forever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.” 1 Peter 1:22-25

eagle-nebula[1]The closer we get to Jesus’ return, the more the discussion continues migrating to outer space. The more errors that continue being exposed from evolutionary philosophies focused on planet earth, i.e. geology, genetics, etc., the more the argument gets launched deep into space.

In all the arguments and discussions involving the so-called final frontier, aliens seem to be the new missing link. The problem, however, is that even if aliens were real, they could never bring salvation to the sinful soul. They could never solve the issue of evil. They would simply serve as one more missionary field to be evangelized.

“You are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and My servant whom I have chosen: that you may know and believe Me, and understand that I am He: before Me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after Me. I, even I, am the LORD; and beside Me there is no Savior.” Isaiah 43:10-11

Below is an insightful and biblical Q&A regarding extraterrestrials from Dave Hunt (The Berean Call).
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Question: What’s your view of extraterrestrials?

Answer: “There are many biblical reasons for not accepting the idea of intelligent life beyond earth other than angels and demons.”

“First of all, it would be impossible for morally responsible humanoids anywhere in the universe to keep from sin. If they had the genuine right of choice, it must inevitably have been used to disobey God. Thus they would require salvation.”

“Secondly, Jesus Christ is the only Savior, and His death is the one and only perfect sacrifice for sins ever offered in the universe (Hb 9:23-28;10:12-14). If there are morally free agents on other planets, they would have to believe in Christ for salvation.”

“Thirdly, God has gone to great lengths to give us an historically verifiable record of His Son’s death and resurrection at the hands of eyewitnesses and this message is contained in a Bible which can be verified in many ways by the inhabitants of earth (geographically, archaeologically, etc.) and which would not be available to ETIs. It would seem both unfair and a violation of God’s way of dealing with mankind for beings elsewhere in space to be required to believe in a Savior who was crucified on a distant planet.”

“Fourthly, the Bible seems to indicate that this earth is the only such place in the universe. When Satan is cast out of heaven, he comes to earth; it is on this planet that the battle will be fought resulting in Satan’s defeat and imprisonment in the abyss; it is on this earth that Christ will reign for 1,000 years while Satan is locked up; it is to this planet that Satan will return when he is released; and it is on this planet that Satan will meet his final defeat and his eternal doom will be sealed.”

“Finally, if life happened by chance on this earth and evolved upward, then it could seemingly happen elsewhere in the universe. But if, as we believe, human life resulted from a purposeful act of God, and if sin is inevitable for such beings, and if the human soul is the prize for which Satan and God do battle, then it hardly makes sense to have this same process repeated on countless other planets throughout the cosmos.” ~Dave Hunt

 

Additional Resources: 

Boy Reading the holy bible“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6 

As parents and teachers, we have so many balls in the air at any given time, losing track of what’s most important can happen quickly. With all the business of our days, it’s easy to let too many opportunities slip by. With the eternal destinies of this next generation at stake, it’s this author’s opinion that we, as Christians, should not only make good use of the many teachable moments, but we should also be THE most intentional in actually making opportunities to biblically train those we’ve been entrusted with by the Lord.  Before entering their land, the Lord through Joshua commanded the priests to set up stones. Why? These stones would be used as an opportunity to generate discussion and training for the next generation of Israel. “That this may be a sign among you, that when your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean ye by these stones?” Joshua 4:6.  If the Lord can use stones to remind Israel’s children and fathers of His greatness and glory, how much more so His Word!

With this in mind and Resurrection Sunday literally right around the corner, there are several activity ideas included below that might serve as intentional and biblical teaching opportunities for years to come. Perhaps some of these family ideas could even replace those traditional “Easter” children’s activities, too many of which have really nothing to do with Resurrection Day.

1. Clue Hunt- Choose several key Resurrection prophecies, print them out, fold and place them in little plastic tupperware containers and hide them around the house or yard. Have children search for them, then put the verses in Bible book order. Later look them up and even find the New Testament fulfillment verses. Talk about why true clues (prophecies) are so important in trusting God’s Word.

The following link serves as a great resource containing many of Jesus’ Old Testament prophecies and their New Testament fulfillment — https://unityinthetruth.com/2017/04/22/old-testament-prophecies-of-jesus-christ-prophecy-as-proof/.

2. Find the Lamb- Purchase a small stuffed lamb or print a picture of a lamb. Look up several of the main Old Testament and New Testament verses referring to The Lamb. Starting on Palm Sunday, put the Lamb in different rooms of your house. Do not hide it. Remember, starting on what we call Palm Sunday (Nisan 10), the Jewish people were bringing lambs to Jerusalem to be observed until they were killed on the 14th. Jesus was coming not to hide, but to be observed and found sinless.Lamb on Rock

For each location you move the lamb, include one of the Lamb verses. Once someone finds the Lamb, he/she will get to read the verse at breakfast or dinner, then discuss it further as the Lord leads. (Some of the main “Lamb” verses in the Bible- John 1:36, Genesis 3:21( Possibly a lamb was killed to cloth Adam and Eve), Genesis 22:7-8, Exodus 12:5-6, Psalm 23:1-6, Isaiah 53:7, 1 Peter 1:19, Revelation 5:11-13, Revelation 7:10, Revelation 12:11, Revelation 15:3, Revelation 19:9, Revelation 21:22-23,27, Revelation 22:3, John 3:16)

Also consider playing the following song- “You are My All in All“. It’s a great reminder of  Jesus being the Lamb of God and our All in All.

Author’s Note: When showing cartoon or live action movies portraying Bible accounts, please use wisdom and discernment. Many Bible movies claim to be about Jesus, however actors of Jesus are not Jesus. We do not know what Jesus looked like, plus He no longer looks like He did while He was here. We definitely don’t want to unintentionally put a false image in place of the true Jesus revealed to us by His Holy Spirit as we read His Word. Also, we must be careful to explain to children that there are always subjective dialog and events in Bible movies that are additions to Scripture in order to make a Bible account make sense as a film. Ultimately, make sure your children understand what is actually in God’s Word.

3. Set it Straight- Choose small sections of the last few weeks of Jesus’ life prior to His crucifixion. Print them out and cut each part, then put them in a bag. Shake the bag to mix them up and then dump out the verses. Have one person or a group put the events in order. Time each group to see how quickly they can do it.(Possible reference chapters to choose events from: Matthew 19-28, Mark 13-16, Luke 18-24, John 12, 18-21.)

4. Match ‘Em Up- To keep from getting lost we need to know our addresses. Print out several New Testament fulfillment verses and their addresses surrounding Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, betrayal, arrest, crucifixion, and resurrection. See the link for Activity 1- Clue Hunt.  Print and then cut out each of the verses and addresses separately. Mix them up in a shoe box or bag. Work in groups to match up the verses and addresses. Time each person or group to see who can do it the fastest.

5. Focusing on Passover– Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem was paralleled with the Jewish Passover. He entered Jerusalem on the same day as the lambs for Passover, Nisan 10. He was crucified on the same day as the sacrifices on Nisan 14. (For one audio article touching on some of this information, go to: Was Palm Sunday a Fulfillment of Prophecy?)

6. Greatest Prophecies! With older kids, take time to explore two of the Bible’s most amazing prophecies- Isaiah 53 and Daniel 9. To begin further study on these two chapters, go to- The Doctrine of Salvation in the Book of Isaiah and Daniel 9:25 Q & A

7. The Last Adam Video by: Answers in Genesis/The Creation Museum. This excellent 15 minute video focuses on Jesus being the Last Adam. It is definitely worth watching as a family.  It is both tastefully and biblically done. You may want to watch ahead of time to determine if it’s appropriate for your younger children.  Go to: The Last Adam video OldRuggedCross_B&W(15:00)

Interestingly, the children involved in these activities won’t be the only ones growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. As we, as adults, read through the Scriptures, prayerfully planning the activities in hopes of training young people, it is inevitable that we will grow as well.

“And we know that the Son of God is come, and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him that is true, and we are in Him that is true, even in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.” 1 John 5:20 


A couple other articles on biblical prophecy to encourage and bolster our own understanding: 

 

 

Soaring Eagle“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31

This is such a blessed promise of God, but it also serves as a very real reminder of how easy it is to run in our own timing and serve in our own strength. Often times, we tend to read this verse and get focused on us as the eagle, but may we never forgot that without the air, everything else is meaningless. 

Eagles have a God-given instinct to utilize the warm updrafts to propel them upward and onward, expelling little of their own energy to travel. Interestingly, the currents are what dictate the timing and direction for the eagles. They must simply wait for the wind and have no authority over it whatsoever. Just as it is with an eagle, when running, it is the air that proves most necessary in going the distance.

The same air that propels eagles into an almost effortless flight also provides the oxygen necessary for the runner’s body to continue the race. The runner does not make the air, nor does he make the air work throughout his body. He simply must breathe. I’m sure many of us have experienced that dizzying sensation that occurs when our bodies just don’t have enough air.  Left for too long, a lack of oxygen will not only bring about dizziness, but also effect the very thoughts and actions of the air-deprived individual.

Instead of enjoying the direction already provided for by the Holy Spirit, we so often desire to dictate our own timing and direction for the life we live. We not only want to control the effects, but also the causes and then wonder why we receive so little joy and peace from our Heavenly Father.  

Let us remember the Holy Spirit is the breath, the air of every born again believer. He desires to daily and diligently direct our steps, supplying our every need! Jesus reminds us in Matthew 11, “Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30.  Jesus is our breath and life.  It is in Him alone that we should live and move and have our being!

“The Spirit of God has made me and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.” Job 33:4

bible-verses-about-love“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:1

The Origin: I wonder how many of us when asked to describe what Jesus looks like would immediately describe a man with long hair in a white robe, wearing sandals and walking the dusty roads of Galilee?  If this is the first idea that comes to mind, then we should ask ourselves where these kinds of images have originated from.  The Word itself says very little about what Jesus looked like. Obviously there are certain things we can deduce, but over all, the Bible spends almost no time explaining Jesus’ appearance, i.e. His height, exact hair color, etc. Clearly, we get most of our images of Jesus from the images made by men, not the Word.  

A Couple of Questions: If we take away every image, static or animated, would our understanding of Jesus be deficient? On the other hand, if we take away God’s Word, how deficient would we be?  Although many claim the images of Jesus are helpful in building one’s understanding, may we never forget the disciples saw Him face to face for over three years and constantly struggled with their understanding of Jesus. Only after Jesus was raised from the dead and opened their understanding could they begin to “see” Him according to the Scriptures.  “Then opened He their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures…” Luke 24:45.

A Limited Perspective: It’s been accurately said that whatever way an artist depicts “Jesus” will only limit the viewer’s overall understanding.  For example, if someone paints a strong Jesus, the viewer will focus on only one aspect of the glorious Savior.  The same is true for the many other “Jesus” portraits, i.e. crying Jesus, weak Jesus, compassionate Jesus, etc.  At best, an image will provide a shallow, limited perspective of just how great God really is.  At worst, it will seductively lead people away from the truth altogether, encouraging the viewer to seek more images and less of the Word.  This, although not always intentional, is a tragic result nonetheless!  

Lest We Forget: Jesus no longer even looks like He did when He walked as a man some 2,000 years ago. After He rose from the grave, He had a different appearance altogether. To take it even further, let’s carefully consider how Jesus was described in the Book of Revelation, the glorified Jesus who John saw and fell down as dead.  The most accurate understanding of the eternal, glorified Jesus is found in the heavenly perspective, not what He looked like two millennia ago. “And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. His head and His hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and His eyes were as a flame of fire; and His feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and His voice as the sound of many waters. And He had in His right hand seven stars: and out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword: and His countenance was as the sun shines in His strength. And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. And He laid His right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last, I am He that lives, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.” Revelation 1:13-18  Keeping in mind many of these are character descriptions, they still reveal Jesus in His awesome, glorified, and eternal state. Interestingly, the Scriptures speak much more in depth concerning Jesus’ appearance in Heaven than while He ministered in His earthly tent. 

The BIG “Picture”: The Apostle Paul, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, gives every believer a wonderful hope, “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” 1 Corinthians 13:12   There is much more to Jesus than meets “the eye”. We are so willing to picture Jesus as a man, which He fully is, but may we never forget He is also fully God and is coming back very soon in the clouds to call His children to their eternal home in the heavens! Jesus is called the Word, not the image, of God for a very important reason.  If we want our understanding to grow, we must go to His Word!  So until He returns, may we continually remain in Him, seeking to understand and know Jesus Christ by carefully studying and obeying His glorious and eternal Word!

“Sanctify them through Thy truth: The word is truth.” John 17:17

“The entrance of Your words gives light; it gives understanding unto the simple.” Psalm 119:130

“And we know that the Son of God is come, and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him that is true, and we are in Him that is true, even in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life. Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.” 1 John 5:20-21 

Although I enjoy some of John MacArthur’s teaching, I must admit I was saddened to hear his dissertation at a conference from a couple years ago on why God allows evil.  I’ve always thought of MacArthur as ‘moderate’ Calvinist, but after listening to what he had to say at this conference and the characterizations he made of those who don’t believe as he does, I must conclude he is not moderate in the Calvinist concept of God’s sovereignty. 

I praise God for how much truth John MacArthur has taught over the years, but sadly in this area his teaching has unknowingly stripped the reality of God’s love from the hearts and minds of those who might blindly follow what is being taught.  In his talk, MacArthur asks the question something like this, “Why would God create Adam and Eve knowing they would sin?”  This cannot be answered by those who simply believe in free will.” (Paraphrase)

The answer to this question does not rest upon the sovereignty, but rather the love of God.  MacArthur does say several times that God does not literally create evil, but then he also says, “Scripture tells us He is absolutely sovereign.  By that I mean He is absolutely in charge of everything! God is control of everything, everything.  He controls everything. He created everything out of nothing. He controls everything. And He will consummate everything.  He is governing history in every minute detail.  There is not one molecule in the universe that is out of alignment with His will.”

For what, in my opinion, is a more careful and biblical look at the question of why God allows evil, see my previous blog which was taken from The Berean Call (www.thebereancall.org).  “Love is the Key” at- https://unityinthetruth.wordpress.com/2011/01/08/gods-love-is-the-key/

Note: John MacArthur’s entire lecture can be heard at: http://www.ligonier.org/learn/conferences/tough_questions_christians_face_08_west_coast/why-does-god-allow-so-much-suffering-and-evil/

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