We’ve all fallen, haven’t we? We’ve all had bad days. Problems in life. Stress. Confusion. We all just have struggles in general. It’s in those times that we feel like we can’t get to God. Our problems and our struggles hold us back from communing with Him. However, Psalm 51:17 tells us something different:
“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.”
As David is writing this and praying this, he knows that all he can offer God is a broken heart. Because, honestly, that’s all we have. Our heart, our soul is the only thing we really own. Everything else will stay behind when you enter eternity. So, the only thing we can truly offer God is our heart. That’s not much, is it? I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I’m anything special. I know that I’ve failed time and time again. The thing is, God accepts what we offer him when we do it with everything we have. When we really mean it, He eagerly accepts our offerings. And they thrill Him because that’s all He wanted in the first place. He wants fellowship with the very people He gave the breath of life.
I hope this short post has encouraged you tonight! God bless!
“Well my love is over
It’s in between
The times that you’re healing
And when your heart breaks
The times that you feel like you’ve fallen from grace
The times you’re hurting
The times that you heal
The times you go hungry and are tempted to steal
In times of confusion
In chaos and pain
I’m there in your sorrow under the weight of your shame
I’m there through your heart-ache
I’m there in the storm
My love I will keep you by my power alone
I don’t care where you’ve fallen or where you have been
I’ll never forsake you
My love never ends”- Tenth Avenue North
This is a video from Dillon Chase. I thought it was great, so I’m sharing it with all of you!
This is a research paper I did for my Biblical Literature class. I think it’s also a good teaching opportunity on a debated topic. I may use it in a sermon or to teach a Sunday School class as well. Enjoy!
Throughout the Old Testament, the Angel of the LORD appears in various places to various people. The appearance of the Angel almost always preceded a major turn of events in Old Testament stories. We see this “Angel” in the book of Judges frequently. The identity of the Angel has long been debated. Some say this is just simply a messenger sent from God, but others argue this is a pre-incarnate form of Jesus Christ. Both sides have presented suggested evidence to support their theories. Most of the claims are based on grammatical usage in the text. Does the Bible ever directly tell us who the Angel is? What does the Biblical evidence say about the Angel?
The word “angel” comes from the Greek word, άγγελος. This means “messenger” or “one who is sent” (White, “Angel of the LORD: Messenger or Euphemism”, 299). We know that Jesus was sent directly by God as seen in John 8:29. It is important to note that the Angel of the LORD doesn’t speak in third person, as other messengers seem to do. The Angel speaks in first person as if he is God. Judges 2:1a is an example this: “The angel of the LORD went up from Gilgal to Bokim and said, “I brought you up out of Egypt and led you into the land that I swore to give to your forefathers.” The Angel is talking as God and not just for God. This happens time and time again throughout the Old Testament. The Hebrew for angel and messenger is used 213 times in the Old Testament. The phrase for “Angel of the LORD” is used 48 times in 45 verses in the Bible. We also see people giving the Angel reverence that usually only God receives. For example, in Joshua 5:14-15 we find Joshua fall “facedown” and taking off his sandals before the Angel. (White, “Angel of the LORD: Messenger or Euphemism”, 300-301). This would imply that the Angel is more than just a messenger if Joshua is responding in worship to him.
In Genesis 18, Abraham gets three visitors. The text describes one of the three as “the LORD.” The other two are believed to just be angels. However, the text indicates that one of the men is God himself, a theophany (Pak, “BIB 110 Lecture Notes”, 22). If these people saw God face-to-face, why did they not die like God suggested in Exodus 33:20? The answer is simple. Either the Angel is not God or God came in the form of the Son (pre-incarnate). That would make this a Christophany in the Old Testament.
Daniel 3:25 also seems to have an appearance of Christ. King Nebuchadnezzar sees a fourth man in the fiery furnace after Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego was thrown in for not worshipping the image of gold. When Nebuchadnezzar sees the fourth man he exclaims, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.” It is after that the Nebuchadnezzar seems to recognize the God of Israel as at least legitimate because he addresses the three men as “servants of the Most High God.”
Finally, we go to Exodus to look at the Angel appearing to Moses. In Exodus 3, the Angel of the LORD appears to Moses in a burning bush. The Angel actually says this in verse 6 which seems to be a clear hint of the Angel’s identity: “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob” (“Fire Bible”, 410).
The case against the Angel being Divinity doesn’t seem to be as strong. Again, the scholars that say the Angel was only a representative of God use grammar and other linguistic evidence, and custom in the text to support their theory. The main argument is that saying the Angel is deity creates a problem for monotheists, such as the Jewish audience of the Old Testament (López, “Identifying the Angel of the LORD in the Book of Judges…” 15). However, we see the Godhead at work from the beginning. The claim is that the text clearly distinguishes the Angel from Yahweh.
This research project has further confirmed what I already had a strong belief in. The appearances of the Angel of the LORD are indeed pre-incarnate appearances of Jesus Christ. The Biblical evidence is overwhelmingly in favor of this. I even believe that God told us exactly who the Angel is on more than one occasion. There are a few Christophanies in the New Testament, too. Even though none of them are described as “the Angel of the LORD,” Jesus is the one who appears. Take the example of Saul’s conversion to Christianity while on the road to Damascus. Jesus appears to Saul, later known as Paul, in the same dramatic way that the Angel of the LORD reveals himself in the Old Testament (Newman, “Israel’s God and Rebecca’s Children…”, 155). Christ’s appearance to Saul also brings about a major turn of events just like the Angel of the LORD did in the Old Testament. The people the Angel appears to also fall in worship when they realize who he is as well. Other angels told the people to not worship them. Along with the textual evidence, the Angel’s claims and messages indicate that the Angel of the Lord is actually a pre-incarnate Jesus Christ. God had a plan from the very beginning and he has always used the Son to fulfill the plan.
“To be grateful is to recognize the love of God in everything He has given us — and He has given us everything. Every breath we draw is a gift of His love, every moment of existence is a grace, for it brings with it immense graces from Him.” – Thomas Merton (Thoughts on Solitude)
“Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.” Psalm 118:1 (NKJV)
It is good to give God thanks. A grateful heart is one that appreciates the love and sacrifice of Christ. And since each new day is a gift, we shouldn’t be caught wasting our time on meaningless pursuits. How then are you using today to thank and glorify God?
Because Jesus willingly took our sins upon the cross, we are able to approach God as His adopted children. Eternal life is our sweet reward. But while we are on earth, we should use our time wisely.
I believe earthly lessons, and the wisdom gained from them, will be carried with us into heaven. Earth is our Prep School, so I encourage you to learn as much as you can about God. Reading the Bible increases knowledge, understanding, and wisdom. Scripture should also inspire and motivate you into action and service. Jesus was all about service and timely action.
When thankfulness for God’s grace is apparent, He is able to turn our heart of stone into one that is pliable and usable for service. Hearts full of bitterness and anger are often caught up and distracted by supposed injustices. These hearts spend their time voicing stories of how they have been wronged, rather than proclaiming the ways God has provided.
Someone who sees the goodness in a person, rather than focusing on their faults, are following in the steps of Jesus. Prostitutes, Tax Collectors, and Thieves all had sins apparent to Christ. But with unconditional love guiding our Lord, He chooses to see the good and not just the sin. Jesus never excused transgressions, but He understood that repentance started with love and acceptance.
With each new moment of the day there is new grace to be found. We do not have to wait for the sun to set or rise to receive new and abundant grace and mercy. The grace of God is never ending and limitless. This fact alone should make our hearts sing with thanks.
God has given us everything we need to run our race with love and mercy. We are well equipped. Within each believer the Holy Spirit lives, serving as our guide and counselor. Is this not another reason to thank God daily?
Surely there have been many occasions in your life that give witness to His divine intervention and grace. Are these not worthy to share with those around you? They provide material and opportunities to give God the glory and praise He deserves.
With ALL of your heart, not just part of your heart, thank God and praise Him for His immeasurable love and grace. Look at each new day as a new beginning, and an opportunity to show Him how grateful you are for all He has done for you. Recognize that the trials in your life have been orchestrated out of love and for a reason. They are meant to refine and transform you. Oh, praise the Lord for each new day, and each new challenge, and each new person He sends our way.
MEDITATE ON THESE WORDS OF WISDOM
“I will give thanks to the Lord with all my heart; I will tell of all Your wonders. I will be glad and exult in You; I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High. When my enemies turn back, they stumble and perish before You. For You have maintained my just cause; You have sat on the throne judging righteously.” Psalm 9:1-4 (NAS)
“For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude; for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer.” 1 Timothy 4:4-5 (NKJV)
“In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18
“Thankfulness is the ‘chief exercise of godliness’ in which we ought to engage during the whole of our life. ‘Gratitude is the heart … of the Christian life.’” -Unknown
I’m currently writing a paper for a Biblical Literature class I’m taking. The topic is Christophany (the appearance of pre-incarnate Christ in the Old Testament). This is a very interesting topic. I should have it done and posted on here within a couple of weeks. Hang tight!
I was reading through Numbers the other day and came upon these verses:
“If the Lord delights in us, he will bring us into this land and give it to us, a land that flows with milk and honey.9 Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not fear the people of the land, for they are bread for us. Their protection is removed from them, and the Lord is with us; do not fear them.”10 Then all the congregation said to stone them with stones. But the glory of the Lord appeared at the tent of meeting to all the people of Israel. (Numbers 14:8-10 ESV)
The Lord only asked of two things from the Israelites. He asked,
- 1. Do not rebel
- 2. Do not fear
Why was it so hard for them? I think it was because they were tired. They were tired slaves begging for relief. It took forever for Pharaoh to finally let them go. Then he chased them. Then they crossed over into a new land. They had no food. They had no water. They were exposed to the elements. And they were tired so they complained.
It didn’t stop there. If they wanted the land God had promised, they had to fight. One battle after another they entered against some pretty fierce competition. Can you hear the groans? They were tired. They were sick of fighting for what was promised to them. Their reaction was one of grumbling and complaining.
Life can be tiring. Every day we wake up and essentially fight the same battles. We fight our way through traffic to get to work. Then there is a situation or a person who grates on us all day long. We come home only to be hurried out the door to this or that activity with the kids. It’s endless and we get tired.
If we are born again, we have heaven to look forward to. One day, we will meet our Savior face to face. We will live in glory praising our Savior. But until then, we are on this journey called life. It can be overwhelming at times. It can be frustrating. And it can be scary. But we are never alone. We have the Lord who goes with us. He rides along in the traffic. Talk to Him. He knows our frustrations at work. Ask for guidance. He knows how busy the kids are. Use those opportunities to share Christ with other parents.
This life can be more pleasant if we simply focus on God rather than the negative. He walks with us through thick and thin. We can be filled with joy even during the mundane events of our day. Ask God to give you opportunities to serve someone else or share His love. There won’t be any more room for complaining; only praising.
I’m going to write a different type of article than I usually do. I am going to write about my views on Obamacare, one of America’s hottest political topics right now. I believe Christians should not shy away from being involved in government affairs, but should be active while reflecting Christ. I’m not saying Christian should completely run government, I’m just simply saying that if you are a Christian, I think you have a duty to be educated and somewhat involved in your government. Not to mention it is our American duty to at the very least vote for our leaders.
*PLEASE NOTE THAT THE VIEWS IN THIS ARTICLE DO NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF THE REST OF THE INSPIRATIONAL CHRISTIAN BLOGS TEAM.
Now, I know Greg wrote on the security risks around Obamacare yesterday. I’m actually going to talk about the actual law today.
First, let me say that the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) has already begun to negatively impact my family. I don’t want to get into that right now, but your prayers would be appreciated.
Now, let me say that the Affordable Care Act should have never been passed. The bill originated in the Senate, which makes it unconstitutional. The reason is that this was a spending bill. Those, according the our Constitution, have to originate in the House of Representatives. The Senate just simply categorized it as a separate type of bill.
Next, I would like to ask a question. If Obamacare is so great, why doesn’t congress want any part of it? Before the shutdown a couple of weeks ago, the House proposed 3 or 4 different resolutions to avoid the shutdown. One of those was that government would be fully funded, but an amendment would be made to the ACA. That amendment would take away the exemption for Congress. The Democrats in the Senate just threw it out. So, Congress passes a law, that they refuse to live by. Senator Ted Cruz from Texas led the charge to save America from Obamacare in the Senate. What’s supposed to happen is that Congress will pass a law AND live by that law whether it’s good or bad. Not in this case. We can not have that from our politicians.
At this point I’d like to focus the attention to the government shutdown that ended earlier this week. Before I start on this point, please keep in mind I’m not placing all blame on Democrats. Republicans were at fault too. However, President Obama and Democrats in the Senate took Republicans hostage during this shutdown. Here’s some points for the government shutdown:
- President Obama lied.
- Democrats refused to negotiate.
- President Obama lied again.
Let’s start at the negotiations, or lack thereof. From what I saw, the Republicans (particularly those in the House) tried to compromise. But Speaker Boehner and others were also trying to represent the American people. I usually don’t complement the Speaker because he has been to weak in the past, but he was tough over the last three weeks. I appreciate that. President Obama kept saying he was willing to negotiate and compromise with anyone, yet he told the Speaker that he would NOT negotiate with him. Basically it’s his way or the highway.
Now, Obama also said that we would default. Well, there’s a problem. Constitutionally, the United States is required to pay her debts. The only way that we would default is if the President told the Secretary of the Treasury to not pay our debts. That would be an impeachable offense.
I could start on how much of a wreck the Obamacare website is, but I’d rant for another thousand words.
Our federal government has lied to the People. The federal government has become way too invasive. When 2014 and 2016 comes around, the American people need to elect fiscally conservative politicians. Today, we broke the $17 Trillion mark on our national debt. It will just keep growing from this point. Here’s to hoping Congress works out a budget deal before the next “crisis” happens early in 2014.
This post is open for discussion as long as you can keep yourself respectful.
Yesterday, I was watching the Today show. They were interviewing Franklin Graham, Billy Graham’s son. He was actually there because Billy, who will be 95 on his birthday in November, is releasing a new book. It’s filled with new thoughts from this great evangelist. Unable to do interviews himself, Franklin went in his father’s place.
As I listened to Franklin and his two minute interview, I thought about what it must be like for him living in his father’s shadow. There were questions asked about Billy’s health. There were inquiries into his quality of life and mental state. The interviewer, when the opportunity arose, always asked about Franklin’s father. Franklin graciously answered his questions but always returned to the gospel. He must have explained God’s love and Christ’s sacrifice three or four times in that short two minutes. It was amazing.
Franklin never once during this interview spoke of himself or his ministry. Each and every word spoken was about his earthly father and his heavenly Father. He used ever opportunity presented to speak of the gospel. I don’t know how many millions of people were watching, but I know they heard about Jesus’ love for them. They learned that God would stop at nothing to have a relationship with them. They were told the reason they were here on this earth.
The bible says, “preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.” (2 Tim. 4:2 NASB) That is exactly what Franklin was doing. I imagine he prayed about this interview. And I imagine asked for the right words. God answered that prayer.
I guess I admire men like Billy and Franklin Graham. They have spent their lives sharing the gospel. They have come under scrutiny on many occasions. People have tried to trap them and present them with opportunities to sin and they have resisted. Their mission is clear. Share Jesus. And they do just that.
I don’t know if Franklin has lived in his father’s shadow but I do know that both he and Billy have lived in the Shadow of their Father in heaven. I would say that’s a perfect place to live.