Saturday, July 29, 2006

An Exciting Find

One of the Christian ministries I've appreciated for nearly as many years as I've been a believer is Radio Bible Class, now known as RBC Ministries. For years I have read their daily devotional called Our Daily Bread. Well, they just sent me an excerpt from a book published by their affiliate, Discovery House Publishers. The book is titled Adventuring Through the Bible, written by Ray C Stedman. The excerpt that I received covers the first three books of the Bible, Genesis, Exodus and Leviticus. I love this man's insights! I think what I appreciate most is his recognition that we need to read and study the Old Testament, especially the Torah. Mr. Stedman has also written a book just about Leviticus, titled Leviticus: The Way to Wholeness. Now here's one of the really exciting things I discovered today: there is a whole website full of Mr. Stedman's writings which makes it possible for you to read all of these books and much, much more online for free! You can access it right HERE. Even so, I think I will be adding both of these books to my list of books I hope to purchase for our home library.

Let me give you one quick quote from Chapter 2 of Adventuring Through the Bible:

How poverty-stricken we would be without the Old Testament, yet many Christians, tragically, choose to be poor! They ignore the marvelous, preparatory revelation God has given in the Old Testament, so that the rich truths of the New Testament might come alive in our hearts. As we move from the Old to the New Testament in this introductory section of our adventure together, my hope is that you will be challenged and changed in your approach to this great book and that in the years to come, the pages of the first thirty-nine books of your Bible will become as worn, underlined, and treasured as the pages of your favorite New Testament books.

It always excites me when I find something that reaffirms the value of the Torah, indeed all of the Old Testament, to the believer today. Some in the church would have us believe that the Law and all of that Old Testament stuff ended on the cross with the death of Yeshua, but that's just not so! God's Word stands forever. Forever hasn't ended yet that I know of. And yes, I realize that Mr. Stedman didn't teach that believers should observe the Biblical Sabbath or the commanded festivals of God or eating of the clean meats only, etc. Nevertheless, I find it wonderfully refreshing that this man, a genuine believer in the Messiah, with a long and productive ministry for the LORD, acknowledged and taught that Christians have a need to read and study the Old Testament books. That is half the battle right there, as I see it. Once we accept that the Old Testament is for us, for Gentile believers in the Messiah, as well as for Jewish believers, and begin to really read & study it so as to apply its principles and teachings to our lives, it doesn't take much for the Holy Spirit to bring conviction about just how He wants us to apply that Word in our lives.

Blessed are You, LORD God Heavenly Father, Creator and Sustainer of the universe, who has not left us without a witness, if we will only have ears to hear and eyes to see.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Please Check These Out!

Just wanted to pass along a couple of article links really quick today that I hope you will check out. These are SO good!

First, Restoration Ministries has just posted two new LifeBytes articles that I think all believers would do well to read and heed. You can check it out at Restoration Ministries. Scroll down the list to #31 Jeremiah's Call to Repentance and #32 The Many Faces of Idolatry.

Bridges For Peace, another of my favorite ministries, has just released their newest Israel Teaching Letter, too. It's titled, Why Christians Should Study Torah and Talmud, and makes some really good points, points which fit quite well with my own post about the value of Torah. I hope you'll check it out at Bridges For Peace. You will want to look under Publications>Israel Teaching Letters>Why Christians Should Study Torah & Talmud.


Saturday, July 22, 2006

The First Principles

Back on July 10, I posted a daily devotional from Days of Praise, published by the Institute for Creation Research, titled The Oracles of God. There was a verse shared in that devotional that has been kicking around in my thoughts.

Hebrews 5:12 (New King James) For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food.

In that devotional, Henry M Morris concluded that the 5 books of Moses, known as the Torah, were the "oracles of God." I have looked up the word oracles in Thayer's Greek Definitions; here's what it says:
1) a brief utterance, a divine oracle (doubtless because oracles were generally brief)
1a) in the NT, the words or utterances of God
1b) of the contents of the Mosaic law.

So for the purpose of this post, I am defining the oracles of God as the Torah.

Okay, so if the oracles of God are the Torah, then what are the "first principles" of the Torah? Paul says here that we need someone to teach us again the first principles of the oracles of God.

I think that the very first principle of the Torah can be found in Genesis 1:1: "In the beginning God..." It all begins with God, with belief that He is. I think that another first principle is that He created the heavens & the earth, the seas, and all that in them is.

Another surely can be found in Genesis 3:15 (Amplified): And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her Offspring; He will bruise and tread your head underfoot, and you will lie in wait and bruise His heel. [Gal. 4:4.]

Exodus 20:2 speaks of another: I am the Lord your God, Who has brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. This is followed by the rest of what we've come to know as the Ten Commandments, from Exodus 20:3-17 (Amplified): You shall have no other gods before or besides Me. You shall not make yourself any graven image [to worship it] or any likeness of anything that is in the heavens above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; You shall not bow down yourself to them or serve them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate Me, [Isa. 42:8; 48:11.] But showing mercy and steadfast love to a thousand generations of those who love Me and keep My commandments. You shall not use or repeat the name of the Lord your God in vain [that is, lightly or frivolously, in false affirmations or profanely]; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain. [Earnestly] remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy (withdrawn from common employment and dedicated to God). Six days you shall labor and do all your work, But the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, your daughter, your manservant, your maidservant, your domestic animals, or the sojourner within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. That is why the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it [set it apart for His purposes]. Regard (treat with honor, due obedience, and courtesy) your father and mother, that your days may be long in the land the Lord your God gives you. You shall not commit murder. You shall not commit adultery. [Prov. 6:25, 26; Matt. 5:28; Rom. 1:24; Eph. 5:3.] You shall not steal. [Prov. 11:1; 16:8; 21:6; 22:16; Jer. 17:11; Mal. 3:8.] You shall not witness falsely against your neighbor. [Exod. 23:1; Prov. 19:9; 24:28.] You shall not covet your neighbor's house, your neighbor's wife, or his manservant, or his maidservant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor's. [Luke 12:15; Col. 3:5.]

Here's another from Leviticus 19:18 (Amplified): You shall not take revenge or bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord. [Matt. 5:43-46; Rom. 12:17, 19.]

And yet another from Deuteronomy 6:4-5 (Amplified): Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God is one Lord [the only Lord]. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your [mind and] heart and with your entire being and with all your might.

The appointed times or feasts of the LORD and the Tabernacle with all of its furnishings & fittings are surely part of those first principles, too, as they foreshadow the Messiah and teach us of His salvation.

Even though I have been following the LORD for over 30 years and have been reading & studying His Word daily for over 20 years, I still have a great deal to learn. As I have applied myself to reading & studying His Torah over the past couple of years, I have been made very aware of how little I actually know about those first principles of the oracles of God. It is exciting to study His Word knowing that I still have so much to learn!

My heart echoes the writer of Psalm 119:1-6 (Amplified): BLESSED (HAPPY, fortunate, to be envied) are the undefiled (the upright, truly sincere, and blameless) in the way [of the revealed will of God], who walk (order their conduct and conversation) in the law of the Lord (the whole of God's revealed will). Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) are they who keep His testimonies, and who seek, inquire for and of Him and crave Him with the whole heart. Yes, they do no unrighteousness [no willful wandering from His precepts]; they walk in His ways. [I John 3:9; 5:18.] You have commanded us to keep Your precepts, that we should observe them diligently. Oh, that my ways were directed and established to observe Your statutes [hearing, receiving, loving, and obeying them]! Then shall I not be put to shame [by failing to inherit Your promises] when I have respect to all Your commandments.

The Most Neglected Book

Here's a short article we received from Chuck Missler in his Koinonia House e-newsletter from 5-30-06. I saved it because it spoke to the relevance of the Torah and the importance of reading & studying it for today's believer. Now I am sharing it here for your consideration...


It may come as a surprise to discover that there are a number of Biblical experts who regard the Book of Leviticus as the most important book of the Bible! (Dr. Samuel H. Kellogg, Dr. Albert C. Dudley, J. Vernon McGee, et al.)

What is The Most Important Thing in the world? Holiness! True happiness begins with holiness (Hebrews 12:14; Matthew 5:6).

"If I had my choice of all the blessings I can conceive of I would choose perfect conformity to the Lord Jesus, or, in one word, holiness." - Charles Spurgeon

Holiness isn't a luxury: it's a necessity. It's not limited to "the Jews in ancient Israel": Leviticus instructs New Testament Christians how to appreciate holiness and appropriate it into their everyday lives. We seem to want Jesus to solve our problems and carry our burdens, but we don't want Him to control our lives and change our character.

“But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” - 1 Peter 1:15, 16

What is "holiness"? It is the primary emphasis in the Bible. This word occurs 87 times in Leviticus alone. The Hebrew word for "holy" used in Leviticus, qodesh, means "that which is set apart and marked off; that which is different; separateness; apartness; sacredness." The English word "holy" comes from the Old English word halig, which means "to be whole, to be healthy." The related word "sanctify" comes from the Latin sanctis, which means "consecrated, sacred, blameless."

Anything that God said was holy had to be treated differently from the common things of life. The Sabbath was holy because God set it apart for His people. The priests were holy because they were set apart to minister to the Lord. Their garments were holy and could not be duplicated for common use. The tithe is holy.

Holiness Revealed

How did a Holy God reveal Himself and His holiness? The pagan religions were notoriously immoral and involved occultic idols, temple prostitution, and the like. God commanded His people to stay away from their altars and shrines and to refuse to learn their ways. You never call any of the heathen deities "holy." But the "Holy One of Israel" is one of the most oft-repeated names of YHWH in Scripture (30 times in Isaiah alone). In both declaration and demonstration, YHWH made it clear to the people of Israel that He is a holy God, righteous in all His works and just in all His judgments. He also gave them a Holy Law that contained both promises and penalties, of which the Ten Commandments are the essence. It taught them right from wrong, defined things both clean and unclean, and declared the penalties of disobedience. There was no "value relativism" here! The requirements of holiness are uncompromising. Near misses don't count. "The wages of sin is death," and "the soul that sinneth, it shall die."

God's Predicament

God hates sin, but He loves sinners. And because He loves sinners and wants to forgive them, He provided a substitute to die in the sinner's place. The whole sacrificial system declared to Israel that a substitutionary death would be required to die in the sinner's place. All this was a prefiguring of a promised Savior who would lay down His life for the sins of the world. What is the "Gospel"? It is God's proclamation of a plan of mercy to sinners. The very definition of the "Gospel" is built on these very specifications:

"That Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures" - 1 Corinthians 15:3, 4

The death of Jesus Christ was not a tragedy; it was an achievement. He didn't just die: He fulfilled the myriads of precise specifications detailed in the Scriptures that pointed toward this most significant event in the universe.

Relevance of This Book to Us Today

Leviticus is the definitive revelation of the character of God. And God has not changed. It is the revelation of the fundamental conditions of true religion. These spiritual truths still abide: there is for sinful man no citizenship in the kingdom of God apart from a High Priest and Mediator with a propitiatory sacrifice for sin. Beyond the self-offering of the worshiper of God stands the constant testimony that it is only through the shedding of blood - not his own - that man can have remission of sin. We can't appreciate Christ as the solution until we understand the requirements which had to be met.

The Epistle to the Hebrews lays down the principles upon which we are to interpret Leviticus. The typical character of the ordinances is affirmed that the Tabernacle was an "example and shadow of the heavenly things"; the sacrifices prefigured "better sacrifices than these," even the one offering of Him who "put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself"; and, that the holy times and sabbatic seasons of the law were "a shadow of things to come."

Still More to Come

We have seen the "type" of the day of atonement fulfilled in the entering into heaven of our great High Priest, but in the type He came out again to bless the people. Has that been fulfilled? Has He yet proclaimed absolution of sin to guilty Israel? How about the Feast of Trumpets and that of the ingathering at full harvest? How about that consummate type of all, the year of Jubilee? Leviticus looks forward to a glorious future yet to come, with the requirements of holiness fully met in Him.

The Book of Leviticus cannot be "read"; it has to be studied.

The Danger Of Wilful Sin

This was the devotional reading for today from Days of Praise, the daily devotional publication of the Institute For Creation Research. I thought it was a good reminder for all of us.

The Danger of Wilful Sin

"Because he hath despised the word of the LORD, and hath broken His commandment, that soul shall utterly be cut off; his iniquity shall be upon him" (Numbers 15:31).

Under the Mosaic law, there was ample provision for forgiveness of sins committed unintentionally. "If any soul sin through ignorance, then he shall bring a she goat of the first year for a sin offering. And the priest shall make an atonement for the soul that sinneth ignorantly, . . . and it shall be forgiven him" (Numbers 15:27-28). However, as in our text, it was altogether different for one who deliberately disobeyed God's law. One who would so despise God's commandment was to be put to death.

In this Christian dispensation, many would say that this harshness of God's law has been replaced by His love. There is abundant pardon for all, since Jesus died for all our sins. Now, all we need is to confess our sins, and He will forgive us (I John 1:9). But "if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, . . . He that despiseth Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God?" (Hebrews 10:26, 28-29).

Even assuming this warning applies specifically only to those who have wilfully renounced faith in Christ, the question still remains whether one with true saving faith will wilfully sin against the known will of God, as revealed in His Word. "He that saith, I know Him, and keepeth not His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him" (I John 2:4). Only God knows the heart, but those "Christians" who deliberately reject and disobey His Word should at least "examine [them]selves, whether [they] be in the faith" (II Corinthians 13:5).
Henry M Morris

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

What Value Torah?

2 Timothy 3:15-17 (Amplified) And how from your childhood you have had a knowledge of and been acquainted with the sacred Writings, which are able to instruct you and give you the understanding for salvation which comes through faith in Christ Jesus [through the leaning of the entire human personality on God in Christ Jesus in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness]. Every Scripture is God-breathed (given by His inspiration) and profitable for instruction, for reproof and conviction of sin, for correction of error and discipline in obedience, [and] for training in righteousness (in holy living, in conformity to God's will in thought, purpose, and action), So that the man of God may be complete and proficient, well fitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work.

In the above quoted scripture passage, the "sacred Writings" mentioned here refers to the Old Testament, what the Jews call the "Tanack." Included in the Tanack are the 5 books of Moses (known as the Torah), the Prophets and the Writings. So let's think about what Paul is saying to his protege Timothy here: from Timothy's childhood, he was been taught the sacred Writings, the Old Testament Scriptures. Paul here tells us that these Scriptures are able to instruct Timothy and give him understanding for the salvation that is to be found in Yeshua the Messiah. NOT the Gospel accounts of Yeshua's life, NOT John 3:16, but the Old Testament Scriptures! Just maybe all of us "New Testament Christians" ought to take another look at the Old Testament Scriptures and find out what we've been missing! Here are Yeshua's own words:

John 5:46-47 (Amplified) For if you believed and relied on Moses, you would believe and rely on Me, for he wrote about Me [personally]. But if you do not believe and trust his writings, how then will you believe and trust My teachings? [How shall you cleave to and rely on My words?]

It seems to me that there IS value in studying the Torah, in fact all of the Old Testament, and teaching it to our children, as God originally commanded in those same Scriptures.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9 (Amplified) Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God is one Lord [the only Lord].
And you shall love the Lord your God with all your [mind and] heart and with your entire being and with all your might. And these words which I am commanding you this day shall be [first] in your [own] minds and hearts; [then] You shall whet and sharpen them so as to make them penetrate, and teach and impress them diligently upon the [minds and] hearts of your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down and when you rise up. And you shall bind them as a sign upon your hand, and they shall be as frontlets (forehead bands) between your eyes. And you shall write them upon the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

What else did Paul say the Scriptures were useful or profitable for? I count 5 things:
1) instruction
2) reproof and conviction of sin
3) correction of error
4) discipline in obedience
5) training in righteousness
For what purpose? Paul says, so that we may be 1) complete, 2) proficient, 3) well fitted, and 4) thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Have you taken a good look at our society lately, even the society within the context of the Christian church here in the West? Evil prospers. Wickedness is considered acceptable and even laudable. There is little or no difference in divorce rates within and without the church. Unwed women are having babies and no one even bats an eye any more. Couples are living together without the benefit of marriage and it's just par for the course. We sanction the murder of our unborn children. We stand on the brink of marriage between one man and one woman, as ordained by Almighty God in the very beginning of His creation, becoming a mockery as homosexual couples demand the right to be "married" in the eyes of the law also. Sexual perversions abound and must be tolerated unless you want to be accused of hate crimes. Even those in the highest positions of authority and responsibility in this land seem to have forgotten what honesty and integrity look like. Good is evil and evil is good. We have a whole generation of young people now who do not understand "right" or "wrong"; there are no moral absolutes left.

The Ten Commandments, what are those? Never heard of them! ~ Why shouldn't we steal if we see something we want but we can't pay for it or it belongs to someone else?~ What's wrong with cheating on our tests at school?~ Why do we need to be honest when we file our income taxes?~ We're only telling "little white lies."~ Yeah, so they gave me back too much change at the store, so what? Their loss is my gain.~ Why shouldn't I sue that business for my broken leg? Who cares if I was breaking in to steal from them and fell through their window in the process?

You know, maybe, just maybe if the Christian Church and the Jewish synagogue were still teaching the Torah, the Commandments of Almighty God, we wouldn't be in such a mess! Yes, I know that there are a lot of preachers and rabbis out there who ARE teaching God's righteous requirements for living, but if we are honest, there are an awful lot of others who are preaching to satisfy itching ears and open pocketbooks and to keep the pews filled so the church board will be happy with them. If you attend a Christian Church here in the United States, when is the last time you listened to a sermon that really convicted you of the sin in your heart & life and drew you to repentance--genuine repentance which is not just being sorry for your sin, but confessing it to the LORD and turning AWAY from it? Seems that a lot of sermons are given to topics that will make us feel good and leave the church service happy with our pastor.

Listen to what Paul says again:

Romans 7:7 (Amplified) What then do we conclude? Is the Law identical with sin? Certainly not! Nevertheless, if it had not been for the Law, I should not have recognized sin or have known its meaning. [For instance] I would not have known about covetousness [would have had no consciousness of sin or sense of guilt] if the Law had not [repeatedly] said, You shall not covet and have an evil desire [for one thing and another]. [Exod. 20:17; Deut. 5:21.]

That matches one of those 5 purposes for the Scriptures that Paul mentions in 2 Timothy 3:16. I don't know what value you place on the Old Testament Scriptures, but I can tell you with all honesty that I am finding it to be a joy & a delight and that I love God's Holy Word. About two years ago now I began to read and study the Torah each week, following the traditional weekly Parashah readings, looking at it as God's own words to ME, not just as ancient Jewish history and applicable only to the Jews. I have been continually amazed at the lessons the LORD, through His Holy Spirit, is teaching me. It has truly been a blessing beyond compare as I have grown in my faith, in maturity in spiritual understanding, and in understanding how to live righteously with God & man, walking in those good works which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them (Eph 2:10). As I continue to study to show myself approved, a workman that doesn't need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth, I have continued to grow in His grace and knowledge of Him. And I am finding instruction, reproof & conviction of sin, correction of error, discipline in obedience, and training in righteousness.

Psalm 119:97 Oh, how love I Your law! It is my meditation all the day. [Ps. 1:2.]

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Ye Must Be Born Again

I work at night, on third shift which is from 11 pm til 7 am. I work in a plastics molding factory and am often assigned to repetitive jobs where I am working primarily by myself. I don't mind that as it gives me lots of time for prayer and meditation. One night while I was thinking and meditating on some things, I had one of those "Ah Ha!" moments.

I was thinking about those who have chosen to follow the homosexual lifestyle. Often we hear homosexuals state that they should be accepted as they are because they were born that way. I don't know whether or not a person can be born with a specific sexual orientation. I haven't read all the studies that have been done on this. I only know what God has said about it in the Bible and what my own intuition tells me.

Leviticus 18:22 (Amplified) You shall not lie with a man as with a woman; it is an abomination. [I Cor. 6:9, 10.]

Leviticus 20:13 (Amplified) If a man lies with a male as if he were a woman, both men have committed an offense (something perverse, unnatural, abhorrent, and detestable); they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.

I do NOT stand in judgment over any one who is following the homosexual lifestyle, whatever their reasons for doing so. The Word tells me:

John 8:7 ...Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone...

I am not without plenty of my own sins so I am in no position to throw stones. And in truth, there is not one of us who is without sin and worthy to throw stones at another. There's only One Who is holy and righteous and without sin--the Son of God, Yeshua the Messiah. And He said, "Neither do I condemn you." (John 8:11)

John 3:17 (Amplified) For God did not send the Son into the world in order to judge (to reject, to condemn, to pass sentence on) the world, but that the world might find salvation and be made safe and sound through Him.

We have all been "born in sin," whatever that sin might be. When you think about it like that, then yes, the person who is a homosexual was "born" that way. But here's the "Ah Ha" moment: that's why Yeshua said that we must be born again! When we are born again, through believing in the sacrifice of Yeshua in our place, to bear the condemnation for our sin, then the Word says that we become new creatures in the Messiah; the old things are passed away and all things are become new. We will still have to battle the sinful inclinations of our flesh, but we have the mighty strength of the LORD indwelling us to help us die to our flesh and live for Him. Now that's Good News!

Keeping The Law

Here's another daily devotional from Days of Praise devotional, published by the Institute For Creation Research. I have highlighted a couple of sentences that I want to remember.

Keeping The Law

"For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all" (James 2:10).

The law of God, centered in the Ten Commandments, is "holy, and just, and good" (Romans 7:12) and expresses perfectly the will of God for holy living. "The man that doeth them shall live in them" (Galatians 3:12).

The problem is that no man can possibly do them all. A man may keep most of the commandments most of the time, but he will inevitably fail in some of them some of the time. Since the law is a divine unit, breaking any commandment--as our text reminds us--breaks the whole law, bringing the guilty one under God's curse of death. "Cursed is everyone that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them" (Galatians 3:10). "Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no lfesh be justified in His sight" (Romans 3:20).

All men, having sinned against God's law, are therefore lost and in urgent need of salvation. There is where God's wonderful grace comes in. "But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested,...Even the righteousness...which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe" (Romans 3:21-22), "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us (Galatians 3:13). He kept the law for us, and bore its curse for us: Thus we are saved through trusting Him.

"What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid" (Romans 6:1-2). We now desire to keep His commandments, because we love Him. "For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments: and His commandments are not grievous" (I John 5:3). We are now able to keep them, because His Spirit now lives in us, and we are "strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man" (Ephesians 3:16).
Henry M Morris

Friday, July 14, 2006

Is My Light Shining?

Last night at work was an emotional downer, I guess I'd have to say. The company I work for fired two of its 6 team leaders yesterday/last night. I also found out that one young couple who've been living together for a couple of years and have a 9 month old baby boy have now split up; they were supposed to get married in September. There's another couple with a baby about the same age that had been living together though not married to each other that also recently split up. One of the young women I work with, a gal almost 21 years old and an aunt to that 9 month old baby boy previously mentioned, said how surprised she was to realize how many single parents work at our factory; she'd never stopped to think about it until it was her brother and nephew who were among the statistics. I also learned last night that one of the men I've worked with, who's been with the company for 21 years, has submitted his resignation and leaves at the end of next week. Another man who I've been working with told me this week that he'll be leaving the end of next week, too, to move out of state. I am going to miss talking to him; we have so many life experiences and interests in common, and he's just a very interesting person generally.

Thinking about all the ones who have left or are leaving and those who I continue to work with every week, made me wonder if I am having any impact on them for the LORD. Does knowing me make any positive difference in their lives? Do they see anything different in me or about me? Will the man who's moving out of state, with whom I have had several very interesting conversations, remember me after he's been gone 3 months, 6 months, a year? And if he does remember me at all, what will he remember? Will he remember me as a woman of integrity, of compassion, of mercy, of encouraging words, with a smiling face and a friendly greeting? Will he have seen Yeshua in me?

One of those mottos that I enjoy collecting, that I've had for many long years, says: Jesus Makes A Difference. Does my relationship with Yeshua make a difference in me that others can see? Do I lift up Yeshua in my words, my actions, my attitudes, my body language, etc? Am I letting my light shine?

Matthew 5:16 (Amplified) Let your light so shine before men that they may see your moral excellence and your praiseworthy, noble, and good deeds and recognize and honor and praise and glorify your Father Who is in heaven.

I'm not sure how to gauge what kind of impact I am having on the people I live and work with, if any, but I can recommit myself to walking in integrity and letting my light shine, walking in the same way that Yeshua walked.

Monday, July 10, 2006

The Oracles of God

In my devotional reading today, this was the day's entry in the Days of Praise devotional which I receive from the Institute for Creation Research. I wanted to share it here cause it really confirmed some things for me. May you be blessed!


"What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God" (Romans 3:1-2)

Although God loves all the world (John 3:16), it became necessary for Him to choose one nation through which He would convey His Word to all nations. The Jews therefore were given the high honor of bringing both the written Word and the living Word into the world. With such privileges, they also must bear great responsibility; yet most modern-day Jews deny both the inspiration of the Bible and the incarnate deity of Christ. Nevertheless, as the next verses point out: "Shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? God forbid" (Romans 3:3-4).

This phrase, "oracles of God," occurs just three times in the New Testament. The word "oracles" (Greek, logion) was understood by the Greeks of that day to refer to actual supernatural utterances given by a spirit through a human medium. Thus, as used in our text, it indicates that the Old Testament should be regarded as nothing less than verbally inspired by God.

Then, in Hebrews 5:12, there is emphasis on the importance of "the first principles of the oracles of God," rebuking those believers who have neglected to learn even the foundational truths of the inerrant Scriptures.

Lastly, the phrase is used in 1 Peter 4:11: "If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God." In context, the apostle is urging anyone with the spiritual gift of teaching to see that his teaching conforms fully to the words of God as revealed in Scripture.

One other time the word "oracles" is used when Moses "received the lively oracles to give unto us" (Acts 7:38). Thus the first five books of the Bible are especially singled out as the "living words" of God!

Henry M. Morris, Ph.D.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Scripture Interprets Scripture

One of the things I want to communicate to my daughter and to anyone who's reading and studying the Bible is that scripture interprets scripture. We can't pull a verse out of Romans and decide that it means 'this' if that meaning doesn't line up with Yeshua's own words in the gospel accounts or if that meaning doesn't line up with scriptures from the Old Testament. Paul would never have contradicted Yeshua or the Old Testament writings. Neither would Peter or James or John. Therefore, if a verse in the Apostolic Scriptures seems to negate the Torah, we'd better double-check our interpretation of it. Either Paul is a deceiver or we've misinterpreted a lot of his writings, because Paul could not have written that the Torah has been done away with since Yeshua said that it had not (Matthew 5:17-19). Paul's enemies accused him of not teaching Torah, whereas he said that he was innocent of their charges, which would mean that he did teach Torah. I think that there are a lot of things written in the New Testament that we do not correctly interpret because we forget to look at these things in context: historically, culturally, and scripturally--with the only Scriptures at that time being the Old Testament, i.e. the Law and the Prophets. I think Paul would be very surprised at the interpretation the Christian Church has put on his writings, divorcing itself from all things "Jewish". I think Paul's expectation was that Gentiles who came to faith in the Messiah would be added to Israel, not replace Israel. More another day...

The Assurance of Our Salvation

When I last posted, I shared about the situation that has developed between me and my eldest daughter & her husband. They gave me a book that they wanted me to read, Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came To Die by John Piper. I am not a big fan of John Piper, though he does have some good stuff in print. (I am not a big fan of any man or ministry; everything has to be tested and must line up with God's Holy Word.) I read the book, noting in particular all the places that they had highlighted, and made notes on paper that I will be sharing with them, giving them my thoughts about what I read. I got the impression that they are concerned that I have thrown away my salvation based on the blood of Yeshua and am somehow trusting in my keeping the Torah to save me. Nothing could be further from the truth and so I have shared with them in a long letter. I would also like to share with them the following article: The Assurance of Our Salvation by John K McKee at TNN Online ( It is such a good article that I wanted to share it here, too. It's well worth the time it takes to click on the link and read it. And just maybe it will reassure some of you who've been reading this and think I've gone off the deep end or who've been having questions of your own. I pray that you will be blessed, as I have been. Shalom!