Monday, October 14, 2019

Go, God’s Got This

In Acts chapter 9 we read about the salvation of the apostle Paul (Saul). He was a fierce opponent of the early followers of Jesus and had gone to extremes to have them arrested and even put to death. While traveling 135 miles to Damascus, Saul was stopped in his tracks by a light from heaven with Jesus speaking to him asking him why he (Saul) was persecuting Him (Jesus). Saul was then instructed to go to Damascus to wait for further instruction. Being blinded he was led into the city where he waited three days, praying while not eating or drinking.

As Saul was waiting, God was also prepared Ananias who was being sent to this notorious opponent. The details given to Ananias in a vision were very specific, even to the point of him being told that Saul also had a vision that Ananias, by name, would come to him. As specific as the instruction was, Ananias still responded with a “but,” fearing that Saul may actually be given access to them to further their persecution. Jesus responded to Ananias with, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel…”

Ananias had a choice. He could disregard the instruction from God and live in fear of Saul, or he could listen and go, trusting Jesus to do as He said. Ananias went and became the one blessed to lay hands on this most famous apostle to the Gentile world.

God may not speak to us through visions as was done with Saul and Ananias, but every day we have choices to make as we seek His leading in the varied situations of our lives. The encouragement for all of us is to trust His leading on our hearts and in the situations laid before us, and obediently go forward to see what He does knowing God has it under control.

Sherman County eNews Spiritual Matters - 10/11/2019

The More Excellent Way

In 1 Corinthians chapter 12 the apostle Paul wrote about how the Holy Spirit supernaturally gifts believers above and beyond whatever skills and talents they might have to accomplish the common good in the church. These gifts are coordinated with ministries overseen by Jesus Christ as Lord in order to accomplish the intended outcomes of the Father. We also see in this chapter the church as a body of diverse members of which none are the same who are to function according to their own abilities for the welfare of the body.

The chapter ends with “…And I show you a still more excellent way.” Then comes chapter 13 which is all about love. It contains great statement on the value of love, descriptions of love and not love and how love functions. Included are two great statements on what love is--patient and kind. Patience is the putting up with things that might otherwise push our buttons having the meaning of being long-tempered. Kindness has the meaning of showing active goodwill even when the other person is by our standard not deserving. These are love in action, and the framework for this is remembering just how much God has loved us when we were strangers and aliens, living in active disobedience and yet He sent His Son to pay the price required to satisfied the wrath of God and secure our forgiveness.

The greatest gift we can know from God is His great love for us and the best way that we can walk with one another is by demonstrating that love. Everything else will pass away when the Christian steps into eternity, but love endures forever. We read at the end of chapter 13, “But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

Sherman County eNews Spiritual Matters - 09/20/2019

The Face of an Angel

It’s so hard when we are challenged in some way to not let it show in some way. In Acts chapter 6 a man named Stephen was selected with six others to care for the needs of some of the widows who were not being helped. The qualifications for the six in being chosen were that they had good reputations, full of the Spirit and of wisdom. Additionally, we read that Stephen was also full of faith and of the Holy Spirit.

As we move on to the rest of chapter 6 and then all of chapter 7, we learn Stephen was also full of grace and power. We find that beyond caring for the widows, he also was actively speaking about Jesus Christ in the synagogues of non-native Hebrews or Hellenists, and that the Spirit of God was working miraculous signs and wonders as proofs of God’s sending him. As this was happening, we learn that the leadership in one of the synagogues challenged him. When they could get nowhere in their debate, they then hauled him before the greater Council of leadership who listened as false charges were brought against him. When his accusers had finished the Council turned their attention to Stephen. This is what we read in Acts 6:15, “And fixing their gaze on him, all who were sitting in the Council saw his face like the face of an angel.”

Imagine that, having the people you had worshipped with growing up now coming against you because of your faith in Christ. Add to that the entirety of the Jewish leadership. Yet, this man as he sat before them and they observed him even in disagreement, had a countenance that could be spoken of as comparative to how one would imagine the face of an angel.

We all have challenges in our lives and things that might tend to rock our boats. Stephen demonstrated for us how a firm faith in God, knowing His security in Christ and living according to the power of the Spirit made all the difference. 

Sherman County eNews Spiritual Matters - 08/16/2019

Go, Stand and Speak

In Kent and Grass Valley we have been working through the book of Acts. In the early chapters Luke moves back and forth between glimpses inside the new and quickly growing body of believers that we know as the church and snapshots outside where the Spirit is working miraculous things as people are being healed and hearing the whole message of salvation in Christ in response. But as the message spread, the leadership in the temple began to feel threatened, not because of any signs of uprising, but because the apostles were gaining favor in the sight of the people and responding by belief in Christ. The leadership, we read, had become jealous of what was going on inside the walls they oversaw.

In Acts chapter 4 Peter and Paul were apprehended and commanded by the ruling Council not to speak of Jesus anymore. Then they were threatened and released. In Acts 5, after continuing to speak, all of the apostles were then arrested. Once again after having been released from prison in the middle of the night by a messenger of God and being told to “go, stand and speak” the whole message of Life, and the subsequently then rearrested they were threatened, beaten, and then released (lot more to the story – Acts 5:12-42).

It seems that for fear of the people the ruling Council could not take any significant action yet against these followers of Christ, though things would quickly change. For the time being, their tactic was intimidate to eliminate with the hope that by exercising enough resistance and threat they would give in. The interesting thing in studying these early believers is that even when faced with these things and even death, they responded with respect while always being clear about who they were compelled to serve knowing that their trust and hope was in God and His strong hand. We can trust Him still today.

Sherman County eNews Spiritual Matters - 08/09/2019

Boldly Shaken

“And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness.” (Acts 4:31)

After being arrested for proclaiming salvation in the name of the risen Jesus Christ, Peter and Paul were threatened and warned to not speak again of Him in public. They responded that they could not abide by this directive, but that they were compelled to continue proclaiming Christ. Unable to take action against them, they were released and told their companions all that had happened. The group then went to God in prayer to worship Him as not only the creator of all things but the One who continues to keep them even in this resistance which they were told would come. As they prayed, they did not ask for the trials to stop, but rather that they would have boldness to continue despite them. It was at the conclusion of the prayer that this verse occurs as God demonstrated He had heard their prayer and was powerfully with them such that they then continued to do what they had been sent to do which was to speak boldly the good news of salvation in Jesus and Jesus Christ alone.

Their response in the face of a life-shaking event was to go to God who moved in them in such a way that they could then go forward with unshakable confidence. It is the certain confidence of God’s presence and His strong hand in our struggles that enables us to rest when everything else seems to be moving way to fast or in a direction that we would not have chosen. God’s goodness isn’t measured by Him keeping us from trials, but in His faithfulness to bring us through to the other side.

“I have set the LORD continually before me; because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” (Psalm 16:8)

Sherman County eNews Spiritual Matters - 07/19/2019

The Hope of Perfect Health

Acts chapter 3 tells us of a forty-year-old man being healed who had been lame and unable to walk from birth. He was well-known in Jerusalem because he had asked for help at the temple gates for years. So, you can imagine the excitement that burst forth when people saw him leaping and dancing before their very eyes.

When the apostles Peter and John approached the temple gate, they stopped to respond to this man’s plea. Peter told the man that they had no silver or gold to give him, but what he did have he would. With that he told the man in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene to “WALK!” The immediately Peter reached down and grabbed the man, and as the man was being pulled to his feet, his ankles were strengthened such that he could do the very thing that amazed the masses.

Peter then challenged the gathered crowd to repent or change their minds about Jesus, speaking of the example of the man…. “And on the basis of faith in His name, it is the name of Jesus which has strengthened this man whom you see and know; and the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect health in the presence of you all.” (Acts 3:16, NASB95) The “perfect health” spoken of was not found in his new-found physical condition, but in his being eternally made whole by faith in Jesus who had done both.

In this life everything fades. But when something happens to us or someone we love; many find themselves challenged to their very core and struggle in knowing where to turn.  But in Christ we have great hope. Our God can and does heal according to His perfect will, but more than that He has promised to all who believe through His Son eternal wellness or perfect health that goes far beyond our temporary. God is good. He is our help, and He will not fail. (See 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)

Sherman County eNews Spiritual Matters - 07/12/2019

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Unchanging in the Face of Change

The prophet Isaiah wrote and is quoted in the New Testament these words, “All flesh is grass, and all its loveliness is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades, when the breath of the LORD blows upon it; Surely the people are grass. The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever.” (Isaiah 40:6–8, NASB95)

We live in a time where truth is viewed by many as relative and the Bible is held to be outdated or archaic. That position stands in stark contrast to what the Bible says about itself. While everything around us changes as we see demonstrated in the annual process of farming wheat or raising livestock. They all have their season and we in response move on from one to the next. We even see this in our own lives and our families. Much of Sherman County stands on generations of hard-working people who have gone before those who are now as their descendants continuing these cycles of work.

All that we see around us is temporal, and it is so easy to then think that even that the unseen must be changing as well. But God and His Word stand in stark contrast. While the wheat might mature and be harvested and our loved ones go before us, God and His Word stand enduring and unchanged. This unchanging-ness means that the truths of His Word are reliable and applicable, that His promises are the same today as when they were made, and the hope of which it speaks is not wishy-washy but certain. The question for each of us is, “How are we going to respond?” This includes the salvation it declares as only being found by faith in His Son—Jesus Christ and the hope that endures for those who believe.

This was originally posted in Sherman County eNews Spiritual Matters on June 21, 2019

Happy Father’s Day

“For you recall, brethren, our labor and hardship, how working night and day so as not to be a burden to any of you, we proclaimed to you the gospel of God. You are witnesses, and so is God, how devoutly and uprightly and blamelessly we behaved toward you believers; just as you know how we were exhorting and encouraging and imploring each one of you as a father would his own children, so that you would walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.” (1 Thessalonians 2:9–12, NASB)

In this passage as Paul is writing to the Thessalonian believers he expresses as a spiritual father many of the traits that we treasure in our own fathers and to which end fathers can seek to be with their own children. No longer in their presence, Paul reminded them of the example of labor and struggle as he put in the time both night and day to do what was necessary for their benefit. In this case, Paul labored for his own provision, but in the case of the father and his family it pictures the diligence that is necessary to tend to the needs of the family as he sets an example of work and perseverance.

There is also the example of teaching. As Paul taught them about God and how to walk before Him, so does the father in the family have the privilege and responsibility to pass on what he has learned to train up his own children both in life and hopefully in their lifelong relationship with God.

Lastly, there is the example of exhortation as a father to a child who encourages them to walk in a manner worthy of who they are and the God who loves them. Fathers have the awesome privilege of setting a pattern for life and encouraging their children as they move forward in the path set before them. We also have a heavenly Father in God who desires we seek Him as He does this for us.

This was originally posted in Sherman County eNews Spiritual Matters on June 14, 2109

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

“Quick to Hear”

“This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God. Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls.” (James 1:19–21, NASB95)

Verse 19 is a favorite verse of mine in counseling because it works in two incredible ways. The first, and primary one, is in relation to our hearing from God before responding to others or even trials in our own lives. When we take the time to listen to Him and reflect on His truths hidden in our hearts (Psalm 119:1,11), we recognize in that moment how good, loving, powerful, faithful and wise He is. It is in looking to Him for His wisdom and trusting in His strong hand that we then can rest in Him in any situation, respond in His ways, and rest in His peace. It is this peace of His that we receive that calms our hearts and holds back our own anger. It is in relying on Him and what we know of Him that He works in us to lift our worries, bring the healing to our bodies and the refreshment to our bones that we read about in Proverbs 3:8 or the rescue which gives rest for our souls.

Of course, we also know that the wisdom of verse 19 works in our human relations as well. When we take the time to really hear not only what is being said but also pay attention to the heart, then we are better prepared to respond in a right and proper way which heads off the likelihood that the situation will lead to further exasperation and heightened anger on our part or others.

This was originally included in Sherman County eNews Spiritual Matters on May 17, 2019

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Thank You Moms!

This Sunday is that annual observance of Mother’s Day that keeps Hallmark, American Greetings and florists around the U.S. in business. Not intended to become commercialized, it was first established with its singular possessive spelling of “Mother’s” as a purposeful reminder of the individual nature between the mother and the child? As I thought about the impact of a mother, I thought of the apostle Paul as he set out on a missionary journey without his mentor Barnabas for the first time. Upon arriving in Lystra in Acts 16 he selected a disciple of his own to bring along with him. We read that he selected “Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer.” The reason he chose Timothy was because of his reputation as one who was “well spoken of” in the community.

Later, in Paul’s last letter before his death, as he wrote to encourage Timothy, he said “For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well.” (2 Timothy 1:5) And the reason for this, aside from him growing in his faith was the firm foundation laid by his mother and grandmother as Paul reminded him, “and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” (2 Timothy 3:15)

This weekend as we once again celebrate Mother’s Day I am reminded of the great gift and rich heritage we have because of the countless intensely personal loving, attentive, and sacrificial lives that have been given for us by moms, whether they are held tight in our memories or currently serve in the clinches of little hands.

“Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:” (Proverbs 31:28, ESV)

Happy Mother’s Day!!

This was first posted in Sherman County eNews Spiritual Matters on May 10, 2019

The Fruit of the Harvest

Last week we looked at the unrealized potential of what a perfect wheat harvest might look like. Farming is impacted in every way by this world from the labor and threats involved to the variability and market acceptability of the end product. Similarly, man struggles like wheat. There is so much that enters our lives that have the potential for destruction. Just like the stuff that grows from the ground, God created man who He intended to rule over the earth without ailment or defect. But when man chose to disobey God, sinned entered the world and everything changed. What once was perfect and intended for life became fallen and enslaved to sin, destruction and death.

Easter is more important than Christmas, because God chose to intervene in His creation by sending His Son to go to the cross and then on the third day to rise again. The cross is where God’s wrath against man’s rebellion was satisfied with the sacrifice of His Son when He who knew no sin became sin for us. The Bible tells us that we are saved by trusting in God’s truthfulness as we accept His gift of forgiveness and life. Jesus’ death wasn’t the end. His resurrection proved His claims and His power to restore life, but this life did not extend to everything. What it did do was to give forgiveness and life to those who believe and give the power to live in a fallen world until He takes us into His presence where perfection is once again realized. The reality is that this world will perish. But not everyone will perish with it.

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16, NASB)  -- the real fruit of the harvest

This was first posted in Sherman County eNews Spiritual Matters on April 19, 2019

The Potential of the Harvest

At a recent Wednesday morning men’s study in Kent we read through another section of the book “Disciple” by Bill Clem. In it we read of the consequence of the curse of mans’ fall due to sin in Genesis 3:17-19, “Man was told that it will take pain and sweat equity to get earth to yield its harvest, and there will be thorns and thistles. There is no way for us to know how a pre-cursed garden looked or functioned, but it was surely a paradise. It is hard to imagine what fruits or vegetables would taste like in an un-cursed state.”

As a community reliant on farming for livelihood, you know the work that it takes to produce a harvest. Each year the hard work is done of preparing the ground, removing the rocks, seeding and spraying for those things that will hinder the wheat, feeding and caring for that wheat as it grows hoping for adequate water, proper temperatures, and freedom from things that threaten its outcome such as fires, infestations and equipment failures. Even with all of this, there is still no certainty that the crop once harvested will be well received in the market.

Just what is your real potential though? I’ve been told that if we were to get a June “Million Dollar Rain” that the wheat might even produce a couple of extra kernels per head implying that even what we see as good does not approach what might be perfect. Just what does perfection look like? This is a question we can’t answer because we live in a sin cursed world that the Creator of the world has also chosen to mercifully and graciously intervene in such that even in the trials, we might live with hope.

Next Friday we’ll wrap up this particular thought, so stay tuned. Be thankful for the rain, enjoy the green, pray for the sun, and look for the hope.

Originally posted in Sherman County eNews Spiritual Matters on April 12, 2019

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Envy Destroys

My wife and I were away the first part of the week at a conference in association with the Kent and Grass Valley churches. At one of the sessions the keynote speaker addresses issues that get in the way of connectedness in partnerships and relationships. In doing this he pointed to envy that he felt was the greatest hurdle. Looking at this he went to a relationship that I touched on in the last post, that of Jonathan and David as well as Jonathan’s father King Saul. Last time we looked at the positives in the relationship. Here we are looking at the negative.

David had been engaged in battle on behalf of King Saul and met with great success. In response, the people began to sing his praise. We read in 1 Samuel 18:8-9, “Then Saul became very angry, for this saying displeased him; and he said, “They have ascribed to David ten thousands, but to me they have ascribed thousands. Now what more can he have but the kingdom?” Saul looked at David with suspicion from that day on.” (1 Samuel 18:8–9, NASB95) We see in this account that Saul heard the comparison and it weighed heavy on him. He desired to have the glory given to David for himself, and from that point forward he viewed David with resentment.

Envy is said to be a green monster. We see in this record and what followed that it began to consume Saul and he spent an exhaustive amount of time trying to bring David down so that he might have that recognition for himself. It robbed him of joy as it festered in him and consumed his thoughts and energies, even leading to his destruction. In contrast to this, his own son Jonathan chose to lay aside his own glory in favor of the one that God had raised, and rather than being consumed by what he did not have he chose giving, sacrifice and love. He chose freedom over bondage.

Posted in Sherman County eNews Spiritual Matters on March 15, 2019

Through Thick and Thin

Before David became king of Israel, he was brought into the home of Israel’s first king, Saul who had a son named Jonathan. David and Jonathan hit it off, and we read of them, “…the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as himself.” (1 Samuel 18:1, NASB) Later when king Saul would become jealous of David’s success, Jonathan sought to protect David against the attacks of his own father. After an extended time of being pursued, David heard of the deaths of both Saul and Jonathan in battle. He honored them both, but of Jonathan he said, “I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan; you have been very pleasant to me. Your love to me was more wonderful than the love of women.” (2 Samuel 1:26, NASB)

Later David’s son, Solomon wrote, “A man of too many friends comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” (Proverbs 18:24, NASB) Surely, Solomon must have heard the stories about the great friendship between his father and his dear friend and all that they endured together. It was not an easy friendship, and things happened that would shatter most relationships. But these men remained strong together and their love endured.

Beyond them, we all have things that come into our lives that can shake us at our cores. The question is whether you have someone who is or can be that faithful friend who you will stand with your like a Jonathan? God loves us this way. But what about someone with flesh and blood who along with God the three of you can endure all things? Solomon also wrote, “And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.” (Ecclesiastes 4:12, NASB)

We are not intended to walk alone.

Posted in Sherman County eNews Spiritual Matters on March 8, 2019

Monday, February 18, 2019

According to the Scriptures

Have you ever wondered who the “they” or “authorities” are when someone claims that “they” or “authorities” say according to some source that something is true? Frequently these anonymous authorities prove to be speculative and even baseless, having gained ground because they play on the emotions, sympathies and desires of others.

One of my favorite passages in the Bible is one that the apostle Paul called the most important truth. It is 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 where we read, “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,” (1 Corinthians 15:3–4, NASB95) In this passage we read twice that the things given to Paul to proclaim had happened just as they had been prophesied “according” to the Scriptures. Not only do have the record of the events, but we have the record of it having been foretold in advance as well as others verifying it afterward.

This is true of Jesus Christ’s death which was proclaimed by the prophets and himself in advance and proven by the record of his having been crucified and then been buried which stands strong in the historical record. The proof of his death is the record of his being buried. Next concerning his resurrection which also was foretold in advance and foretold by him. In the next several verses not cited here Paul went on to describe the witnesses to the risen Christ which included 500 witness at one time of whom many were still alive at the time of the writing of this Corinthian letter who could have contested it if it weren’t so. From beginning to end God took the time to say it, do it, and then affirm what He did. Some say there is no real truth. God’s Word claims and supports otherwise.

Posted in Sherman County eNews Spiritual Matters on February 15, 2019

Grow in Wisdom

Not like the east coast last week, Sherman County is experiencing its own cold weather this week. With that, there is an admonition for outdoor activities, “Stay Warm Stay Safe.” Little will cause great harm more consistently than going out without the proper clothing and placing yourself in unsafe circumstances.

“Stay Safe Stay Warm” are simple but profound words of wisdom for being outside. Grasping this piece of wisdom makes sense. We know in or hearts and our minds that this is a wise thing to do, and to disregard it is foolishness. The book of Proverbs is classified as one of the wisdom books of the Bible, and from its beginning Proverbs contains one brief statement after another of wise things for us to observe. It begins like this: “(1) The proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel: (2) To know wisdom and instruction, to understand words of insight, (3) to receive instruction in wise dealing, in righteousness, justice, and equity; (4) to give prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the youth— (5) Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance, (6) to understand a proverb and a saying, the words of the wise and their riddles. (7) The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Proverbs 1:1–7, ESV)

It’s true that fools despise wisdom and instruction. I don’t think many of us would question that, but what about how we regard the ultimate source of all wisdom. God is that source, and He has revealed Himself to us through His Word. When you next step prepare to step out into the cold, and you pause to dress properly thank Him for the simple wisdom. And when you next sit down for some quiet rest take the time to open His Word, listen to His leading and learn from Him.

Posted in Sherman County eNews Spiritual Matters on February 8, 2019

The Church is More than a Building

On Wednesday morning I drove by the old Methodist church in Grass Valley and was struck by its winter splendor. The noises of this church and its regular services have been silent for seventy years, and though it is an extremely popular photo stop the reality is that one day this building will pass away.

I wish this could only be said of the structures, but it’s true of the people to. Some pass into eternity and the fullness of joy in the presence of our Lord. Others go away through moving, church migration, and even sadly because they simply walk away.

But the church is more than a building. The apostle Paul wrote in Ephesians 2:19-22, “…you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.” (NASB)

The church is the body of Christ, and Jesus is its corner stone. He is the One on whom it is built and who frames up its very structure. God sovereignly worked through the prophets and apostles to lay its foundation, and He continues to work through those He calls to Himself through salvation by trusting in His Son to be its very building blocks in which His Spirit dwells and actively works. Then one day we are promised that the fullness of His church will be presented to His Son (Jesus) as His perfect bride.

These old buildings will pass away. Our bodies age and so do we. But one thing we are assured of is that Christ’s church won’t. Don’t forsake the building, but more than that seek Him and enjoy His people.

Posted in Sherman County eNews Spiritual Matters on January 18, 2019

Truth in a Treacherous World

Driving back to Sherman County yesterday I saw a sign warning of “possible” black ice conditions. When it comes to the weather, hiking a perilous, or swimming in a swelling river we commonly refer to the conditions as treacherous. This means that they are dangerous, unsafe, precarious, and laden with hidden or deceptive risk. It also means that because of their dangerous nature they are unreliable and frequently unstable.

But treacherous also is used to refer to people. The Bible speaks frequently of the dangers of hanging out with treacherous people who act treacherously. In this sense the word is used to describe betrayal or deception because the person is unfaithful, deceitful, false, double-crossing, two-faced, untrustworthy, unreliable, and undependable.

After two chapters in the Bible of “good” and “very good” (Genesis 1-2) we read in the first verse of chapter 3, Satan (or the serpent) is described as “more crafty than any beast...” The serpent then proceeded to tempt Eve to eat what God had forbidden, which she and Adam did do. In Genesis 3:13 God asked her, “What is this you have done?” Eve’s response was “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

From this point on the story of God in the Bible includes His unveiling to us His plan to bring us back from the hands of that deceiver through His Son who is described as the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14:6). This story unfolds until the point that we are brought to the cross on which Jesus is crucified where He declares “It is finished” (John 19:30). Sin and death had been defeated and in the last verses of the third to last chapter of the Bible we see it all wrapped up, leaving us once again with two chapters of God’s eternal very good for all who believed in His Son (Revelation 21-22).

Posted in Sherman County eNews Spiritual Matters on January 9, 2019

Sent to be Wrapped

"In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. (And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:1–14, ESV)

The next time we have a record of Jesus’ being wrapped in cloths is at His burial after His crucifixion which was followed on the third day by His resurrection for the purpose of our salvation.

Posted in Sherman County eNews Spiritual Matters on December 21, 2018