What Your Music Says About You

All of us like to control the way in which we portray ourselves. That is why we go shopping for ourselves, dress ourselves, pick out our own vehicles and the like.   The old adage, “Clothes make the man,” is true in an outward sense.   A man’s clothing is a billboard, not into who he is, but who he wants you to think he is. Many a millionaire has hidden his wealth under the ragged garments of humility, while many an indebted man or woman covered up their poverty by clothing fit for a king.

In a very real sense, however, there are ways in which who we are and what we are is most-readily discerned by others. Clothing may tell a false tale concerning an individual but the matter of music provides a crystal-clear super-highway of knowledge into the soul of a man.

World over, music has an unparalleled appeal in every culture. There is no culture where a form of music is not found and in each particular culture a man’s fruit may be seen through the music which influences his soul. Continue reading

Interesting Facts about the Bible

Question: What are some interesting facts & stats about the Bible?

Answer:

Books in the Bible: 66
Books in the Old Testament: 39
Books in the New Testament: 27
Shortest book in the Bible: 2 John
Longest book in the Bible: Psalms
Chapters in the Bible: 1189
Chapters in the Old Testament: 929
Chapters in the New Testament: 260
Middle chapter of the Bible: Psalm 117
Shortest chapter in the Bible: Psalm 117
Longest chapter in the Bible: Psalm 119
Verses in the Bible: 31,173
Verses in the Old Testament: 23,214
Verses in the New Testament: 7,959
Shortest verse in the Bible: John 11:35
Longest verse in the Bible: Esther 8:9
Words in the Bible: 773,692
Words in the Old Testament: 592,439
Words in the New Testament: 181,253

Source- http://www.gotquestions.org/Bible-stats, S. Michael Houdmann

Sol(o-emn) Approach to the Sacred Desk

During my ministry God has given me the gracious opportunity to sing from some of the great pulpits of influence in the Independent, Baptist world.  Each and every time I mount any pulpit, great or small in the eyes of man, to put God’s message to music I have attempted to approach it with a holy reverence and the preparation befitting my opportunity.

On May the 8th, 1999, God called me to be a preacher of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  From that time to this day, I have either been called a “Singing Preacher” or a “Preaching Singer!”  Both are favorable gifts from above!

During the time of my calling, I was given a story by an ordained uncle, who at the time was a lay preacher, that has been filed away in my heart from that day to this one.  He told me that when he is asked to preach, he said in his heart, “It is not always my turn to preach, but when God gives me my turn, I enjoy the opportunity and make the most of it for Jesus Christ.”

Accordingly, it is not always my time to preach, but thus far, the Lord Jesus has given me great opportunities to sing for His glory.  As I approach the conference or revival pulpit, I have in my heart that this opportunity is no less significant than the one moments away for the preacher, and I must seize the opportunity for the Lord Jesus Christ.

Here are a few tips for church soloists looking to make the most of their talent in the economy of our stewardship: Continue reading

Would Jesus pray for Champ?

To be clear, Champ is our one-year old English pointer that we have had for a few months now.  With four kids and a love of running, my wife and I began the tedious search of finding the dog that was just right for our family.  That was a Friday night after the kids were in bed.  By Saturday, Champ had been “rescued” from a pet adoption service and was frolicking in the joy of suburban life with the Cox family.

Over the past several weeks, Champ has acclimated to life here.  He has a bed in my home office, complete with a Mossy Oak pillow, a backyard to enjoy and four energized children who love their new brother.  Not only that, but me and Champ have logged quite a few miles together.  I have greatly enjoyed taking him on long runs.  Seeing I often do not get to run until late in the evening, he has provided me with a firm and enveloping camaraderie and a healthy dose of security.

Having said that, he’s not perfect!  Our first “big purchase” for Champ was an electric fence.  Our hope was to teach him the boundaries of the front yard so that when the kids are outside playing, we feel safe knowing that “big brother” has a close eye on them.  An alerting bark from “Champ Boy” provides that extra blanket of parental care we long to feel.

It was not long, however, until the pain of the most intense shock to him was worth the thrill of an unleashed endeavor through the neighborhood.  His strong thighs and long gate get him where he wants to go, and where we do not want him to go, quickly.   Continue reading

TRIBULATION OR TRANSLATION

Post by Jeff Wade:

Nothing is more controversial today than the subject of the Rapture. More specifically…when does the Rapture take place? The answer to this question is critical to answering another question, and that is…is the body of Christ doomed to face the Tribulation or destined for Translation?

Opponents of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture, that is, the Rapture happening before the start of the 7 year Tribulation Period, like to point out that the church is supposed to endure tribulation. Jesus said in John 16:33 “…in the world ye shall have tribulation…”.

They will also point out verses such as: Matthew 24:29-30

“Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.”

My intention here is not so much to point out why such interpretations are wrong but rather to show why the Pre-Tribulation Rapture is right. To tie up all loose ends before proceeding, however, let me say this: tribulation mentioned in John 16:33 is not THE Tribulation and verse 30 of Matthew 24 is not the Rapture; it is the Second Coming, which are two separate events. So, when does the Rapture happen?

We can answer this question by addressing my second question.First, “Will the church of Jesus Christ have to endure the Tribulation Period?” May I suggest that we have to look no further for the answer than to take a look at the character of God. A journey back through the Old Testament shows a very interesting detail about God’s character, and that is… God will NEVER judge the righteous with the wicked.

We see this clearly in the book of Genesis regarding the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. When God sent word that He was going to destroy the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, Abraham asks God a very direct question in: Genesis 18:25

“That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?”

The Lord goes on to say that even for the sake of ten righteous souls He would not destroy the cities. We know that ten righteous souls could not be found in the two cities, but, who were found there were Lot and his family. Since ten righteous could not be found, did God go ahead and destroy righteous Lot and his family? Absolutely not! Angels were sent to take them out of Sodom before fire and brimstone rained down from heaven, utterly destroying the cities.

As the judgment of God is soon to fall upon this wicked world during 7 years of hell on earth, we can ask the same question as Abraham did, “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” Will God slay the righteous with the wicked? After rescuing Lot from Sodom before judging it, could He possibly leave His people on earth during the Tribulation Period to be partakers in His wrath? Do we, the body of Christ, have the same qualifications as Lot to be able to avoid the wrath of God? I say we do.

Notice these qualifications; First, the believer is righteous. The Bible says in II Corinthians 5:21, “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” Because of the merits of the Lord Jesus Christ, the born again child of God has been imputed with Christ’s own righteousness.

Secondly, the believer is not under God’s wrath. The Bible says in 1 Thessalonians 1:10, “And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.” 1 Thessalonians 5:9 states, “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ.”

The Tribulation Period will be a time so awful that Jesus said there has never been a time like it nor ever will be! It will be a time when a Christ-rejecting world will be exposed to the fierceness of the wrath of Almighty God. Jesus said that except those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved alive.

Not only will the Tribulation be a time of wrath, but it will also be a demonstration of the wonderful mercy of a loving God. It will be God’s one last attempt to get the attention of the world and bring them to repentance. God has no pleasure in the death of the wicked, nor is He willing that any should perish. God’s attention is primarily on the nation of Israel at this time, as well as the inhabitants of this earth.

Therefore, the Tribulation Period was not designed for the believer in Christ. The purpose of the cross was to appease the wrath of God. Christ was judged on our behalf. He took our sin and in return His righteousness was imputed to us. So again, shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? If the believer had to face the very thing that Christ already took for us, would God be just? If we are already the righteousness of God in him, then what purpose would the Tribulation serve for the believer?

Romans 3:26 says, “God is just and the justifier of all who believe in Jesus!” Just as Lot was removed before the judgment of God fell on Sodom, so shall the body of Christ be translated before the judgment of God falls on this world during the Tribulation Period. The Judge of all the earth will do right! God’s wrath has been satisfied. The promise of God is that we will never have to face His judgment.

The Bible says in Romans 8:1, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus…” Rest assured, iis the Blessed Hope we look forward to, not the wrath of God! What a fearful thing for the believer, if, knowing how close we are getting to the days of the Tribulation Period, all we had to look forward to was God’s judgment! The believer will NOT go through the Tribulation Period. The word of God demands it! The justice of God demands it! The very character of God demands it! Praise God! Keep looking up. Jesus is coming soon!! Do not fret, my friends, we translate before the world tribulates! Amen.

 

Christ our Passover

During the passion week of our Lord’s final days, He asked the disciples to borrow an Upper Room wherein He might keep the feast of passover with His disciples. As He entered this borrowed place, the traditional vestments of Passover were on the Table.

Jesus gathered together with these twelve men a table upon which was bread, with bitter herbs, and wine. Paul gives epistolary commentary on this night in First Corinthians chapter eleven:

For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.

The Passover was the beginning of months to the Jewish people. Having dwelt in Egypt for four hundred and thirty years, God led the people out of bondage upon His tenth plague upon Pharoah and the land of Egypt. God commanded the people to take a lamb into their homes on the tenth day of Nisan and to keep it unto the fourteenth day of Nisan, in which their lamb was to be killed in the evening. The lamb’s blood was then to be applied to the doorposts of their homes; for when God Himself saw the blood he would Pass-over their homes.

On the Hebrew dinner table was lamb roasted with fire, unleavened bread and bitter herbs. They were to perpetually commemorate this feast unto the Lord.

Accordingly, on the night of the Passover (the 14th of Nisan) Jesus gathered His family around the Table. Upon the table was unleavened bread and wine, the fruit of the Vine. However, where is the Lamb?

When you look upon the Communion table of the local, New Testament Church “as oft as ye eat this bread and drink this cup,” do you see the lamb? It is there! or shall I say, “He is there!”

Paul says, “Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:” (I Corinthians 5:7).

Jew and Gentile gathered together in worship of the Lord Jesus Christ in the first century church. At Corinth, Galatia, Philippi and many other places, there was no need for the Gentile to gather around the Old Testament Passover Table to commemorate the national liberation of the Hebrew nation, nor was there an absolute need for the Jew to gather around the Passover Table, if both could graciously gather around the Lord’s Table and worship the Lamb of God who came to take away the sins of the world (John 1:29).

When Peter, James, John and the other disciples in the Upper Room took that bread (sop) unto themselves and drank of that cup, they were partaking of the Lamb! As we gather around the Lord’s Table, we do the same! The picture is undeniable; Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us! We need not, as others, to see the bread as the literal body of Christ and the wine as the literal blood of Christ, as to crucify Him again. Paul said, “Christ our passover IS sacrificed for us!”

Let us, therefore, keep the feast in remembrance of Christ and His sacrifice for us. Let us keep not only the Passover but the Feast of Unleavened bread, which speaks powerfully of the sin in our lives that needs to be purged out, seeing that God dwelleth not in temples made with hands but in our bodies, the temple of the Holy Ghost.

Because God took sin so seriously that He made His Son our Passover in order that He might pass over us in judgment, we ought to take sin so seriously that we keep the feast of unleavened bread in our hearts by ridding our lives of sin.

Good Friday: An Impossible Tradition

In Colossians chapter two and verse eight the Apostle Paul said, “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.”

The Bible is not only the Word of God but is indeed the Word Himself. John said, “The Word was God” (John 1:1). Within the Bible’s pages we see the beautiful and unfolding drama of redemption, featuring the climactic crucifixion of God’s darling Son. On this particular day noonday became midnight. The sun refused to shine as the Son was rejected by sinful men. This day was unlike any other day in human history. GOD DIED on crucifixion day!

To what day, however, may we ascribe God’s good and merciful sacrifice of Himself? That is the question.

For centuries, Christians, or shall I say “Christendom,” has marked the crucifixion of Jesus Christ on Good Friday. The good news is that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures (I Corinthians 15:1-3); the bad news for Good Friday is that the Scriptures speak superfluously about the day upon which He died. The promises and prophecies of Scripture connected with His death and resurrection cannot be irrefutably linked to a Friday crucifixion.

Please take a moment to ponder the following considerations concerning when the Lord Jesus Christ tasted death for every man (Hebrews 2:9):

1. THE EMPHASIS OF SCRIPTURE ON THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS

Jesus said in Matthew 12:40, “For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”

These words were not the emphasis or hyberbole of Matthew; these are the words of the Lord Jesus! You say, “The Hebrews had an idiom concerning days. An onah was a Hebrew consideration that any part of a day could be considered an entire day.” This fact is true, and based upon such evidence, Jesus resided in the grave a portion of Friday, the entirety of Saturday and a portion of Sunday, thus three days.

However, the Lord Jesus promised to be in the tomb for three days and three nights. Such an idiom did not exist for the night.

John 2:19-21

Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? But he spake of the temple of his body.

See also Mark 8:31, 9:31, 10:34, Matthew 27:63, John 12:19, etc.

2. THE PASSOVER SABBATH VS. THE WEEKLY SABBATH

The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. (John 19:31)

If the Sabbath spoken of here is the weekly Sabbath, Good Friday would be the day of the crucifixion. If indeed there is another Sabbath at work here, what is the significance of the language John uses here concerning “that sabbath day was an high day?”

The weekly Sabbath/Saturday/7th day of the week was a tradition with roots previous to Adam’s occupation in the Garden of Eden. God rested from His laborers on the seventh day for our pattern of rest and worship. This day was commemorated in Exodus chapter twenty as a day which should be remembered and kept holy.

Our confusion often lies in our Gentile understanding of the Bible. Jesus died for the world, but He lived a Jewish life. The Passion week of our Lord was full of Jewish symbolism regarding his fulfillment of the Jewish feasts, which all point powerfully to the Messiah!

In His last days Jesus was the fulfillment of two Jewish feasts through death. They are Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

Passover was the perpetual commemoration of their deliverance by Jehovah from Egypt through the merits of the blood of the innocent lamb. Exodus chapter twelve records that the houses of Israel were to take unto themselves a perfect lamb on the 10th day of the month Nisan (the beginning of months, Ex. 12:1-2). The lamb was kept by them until the 14th day of the month, upon which it was slain in the evening and the blood was applied to the door posts of their homes. When God came through Egypt that night, He was looking only for the blood. Ethnicity would not save them…only the blood! Jesus was the fulfillment of every Old Testament lamb, from the one slain in the Garden of Eden for man’s sin, to the top of Mt. Moriah in Isaac’s stead, to the multitudinous lambs slain in the Tabernacle and the Temple. John Baptist proclaimed, “Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world!”

Immediately following the Passover was the seven-day feast of unleavened bread. At conception this feast spoke primarily of God’s quick and timely snatching of His people from the land of their bondage. Truly, they did not have time to let their bread rise! When the fulness of time came, they got out of dodge!

Upon the first day of this feast the cupboards were to be cleared of all leavening agents unto the seventh day of the same. Leaven as we know is a picture of sin (Exodus 12:15, Matthew 16:6, 11, 12, Mark 8:15) and was to be purged from their homes.

The Apostle Paul in speaking of the purity of the local church uses leaven once again in his fight against church impurity. He exclaimed, “Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us” (I Corinthians 5:7). As there was no sin and no guile found in our Passover Lamb (I Peter 1:19), so there is to be a seriousness about sin in His body, the church.

The Bible says,

In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the LORD’S passover. And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the LORD: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread. In the first day ye shall have an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein. But ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD seven days: in the seventh day is an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein. (Leviticus 23:5-8).

The first day (and the last day) of the Feast of Unleavened Bread is a Sabbath. This is a “special” Sabbath, also called a “high Sabbath”. As the Jews of the Old Testament were given preparatory time in cleaning their homes for this seven-day feast, so these New Testament-era Jews prepared for the feast. The Sabbath day following Jesus’ crucifixion on the cross can be reconciled by understanding that His death occurred in the middle of the week on the Eve of the “high day” or Sabbath rest of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

3. THE GOSPEL WRITERS RECORDED NO LESS THAN 20 EVENTS THAT OCCURRED BETWEEN HIS DEATH AT 3 PM AND A THE SUNSET (BEGINNING OF THE HIGH SABBATH) PRECEDING SABBATH DAY

In the Gospel records we are dealing in Jewish time (sunset-to-sunset), not Roman time (midnight-to-midnight). Seeing that according to this timeline, no work could be performed on Saturday (the weekly Sabbath), a Good Friday model would give the disicples less than three hours to perform the following:

-request His body from Pilate
-His body to be inspected on the cross and His legs not to be broken
-Joseph of Arimathaea goes to Pilate to beg for the body
-Pilate sends enquiry to Golgotha to concerning the certainty of Jesus’ death and the centurion’s enquiries to Golgotha to confirm death and report back to Pilate (we all know how slowly the wheels of government bureaucracy turn!)
-Joseph then goes to the market to buy fine linen
-Joseph proceeds to extract the body from the cross
-He, along with the help of others, washes the body and wraps it in a linen cloth (sindon- “one piece of linen, see Matthew 27:59) and lays the body in the Garden Tomb without spices/ointment
-the stone is rolled to cover the opening of the tomb
-later, Nicodemus procures a great amount of expensive spices, and returns with the help of Joseph and other ladies, as to embalm Christ’s body, and He is wrapped in a linen cloth and the head separately in a napkin (the word here is “othonion” is used here as speaking of plural cloths).
-again, the stone is rolled to cover the tomb and they depart
-on the first day of the week the women returned to anoint His decaying body with spices but found the stone rolled away

It seems totally unreasonable that Joseph and these women accomplished these many tasks in less than three hours from His death on late Friday evening to the beginning of their weekly Sabbath.

We must, therefore, conclude that the Lord Jesus died on Wednesday evening (the 14th day/Passover) and great haste was made by Joseph to quickly wrap Jesus in a single napkin in His tomb before the High Day commenced so that the Lord Jesus did not hang, ignored and unloved, on the cross for the entirety of the Passover Sabbath. This would have allowed the disciples the entirety of Friday to appropriately care for His body in the garden tomb.

DOES IT MATTER?

Of course it matters! Everything in the Bible matters! Paul said, “There are some traditions of men that are not after the truth of Christ.” We ought never to give any portion of our Bibles away in seeking to numb our minds so as to think in other men’s boxes. The Bible clearly states the necessity of Christ’s bodily resurrection after an interment of three days AND three nights.

May the passion week ignite us to know the truth concerning the Lord Jesus Christ and His sacrifice for us! CHRIST THE LORD IS RISEN TODAY….JUST LIKE HE SAID!

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