Innocent Awareness

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1 Corinthians 14:20In regard to evil, be infants, but in your thinking be adults. (NIV 1978)

My Musings – Infants are innocent. Adults are aware.

My Advice – Evaluate situations and circumstances like an adult and be aware of the evil that they might entail. Keep your innocence. Do not get involved in the evil.

God Dwells With Man

GOD DWELLS WITH MANAnd I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.” (Revelation 21:3)

Following John’s revelation of the New Jerusalem he wrote, “I heard a loud voice from the throne….” This is the last of twenty times that the expression “a loud voice” is used in Revelation (first used in Revelation 5:2). This final proclamation from the throne states that “God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and He will dwell with them.” In eternity, saints will enjoy a new intimacy with God which has been impossible in the fallen world where sin and death are still present.(1)

The Bible gives an interesting record of God’s dwelling (literally tabernacling(2)) with man.
He Walked – At first, God walked with man in the Garden of Eden.
He Dwelt – Later, He dwelt with Israel in the tabernacle and then the temple. When Israel sinned God departed from those dwellings.
He Came – Jesus came to earth and “tabernacled” among us (John 1:14).
He Indwells – Today, God does not live in man-made temples (Acts 7:48–50), but in the hearts of His people (1 Corinthians 6:19–20) and in the church (Ephesians 2:21–22).

He Will Once Again Dwell – At the consummation of all things, God will once again dwell “among the people.”

In both the tabernacle and the temple, a veil stood between men and God. That veil was torn in two when Jesus died, thus opening a “new and living way” for God’s people (Hebrews 10:19). Even though God dwells in believers today by His Spirit, we still do not fully understand or fellowship with Him as we would like. But one day, we shall dwell in God’s presence and enjoy Him forever.(3)

Up Next – All things made new.

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References

  1. Walvoord, John F. (1985). Revelation. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, pp. 984–985). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  2. Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 2, p. 601). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
  3. Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, p. 622). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

Love Is, Love Is Not

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1 Corinthians 13:4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered it keeps no record of wrongs. Loves does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, it always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. (NIV 1978)

My Musings – It is clear to see that what many try to pass off as love is really selfishness.

My Advice – Keep this as the standard of love that you aspire to with a mate, a friend, family and fellow Christians.

Not Everything

1 Corinthians 10:23“Everything is permissible” – but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible” – but not everything is constructive.  (NIV 1978)

My Musings – It is true that we live by grace. But that does not give us a license to sin. There are still things that simply are neither beneficial nor constructive and we should avoid them.

My Advice – Do not buy into any claims that because of grace you should be allowed do anything you want. God’s moral laws are still His laws.

It’s the Gospel, Stupid!

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Isaiah 52:7How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!” (NIV 1984)

My Musings – In the spring of 1991, following an immensely successful invasion of Iraq, President Bush’s (the first one) approval rating was 90%.  He was considered unbeatable as he looked ahead to his reelection bid the following year.  Then, the economy began to sour, and by late summer of 1992 (just weeks before the election) 64% of Americans disapproved of his job performance.  With this dramatic reversal of fortune, the Clinton campaign’s slogan became “it’s the economy, stupid!”  The slogan’s intent was to keep the campaign focused on the real issue of that year’s presidential election – the economy, President Bush’s Achilles’ heel.  They could have lost their way and become side-tracked on less important or even non-essential issues and lost the election.  The slogan was meant to be the rallying cry to get them back on track to what was important in order to win the election. It did and they did.

I think evangelical Christianity is in need of a similar slogan today to get it back to its “prime directive” – It’s the Gospel, stupid!  My intent here is not to throw rocks at someone else’s “glass house,” because I consider myself to be an evangelical Christian.  But what does the term evangelical Christian mean anyway?  Here is an excerpt from someone else’s musings [with some editorializing by me thrown in] that might prove helpful ( from https://www.gotquestions.org/evangelical-Christian.html):

“In Western culture today, there are many caricatures of evangelical Christians. For some [perhaps an understatement], the term evangelical Christian is equivalent to ‘right-wing, fundamentalist Republican.’ There is no doubt that holding to the fundamentals of the Bible will result in a certain worldview and, yes, political [political maybe, moral certainly] beliefs. However, there is nothing about being an evangelical that demands a certain political party or affiliation [or gives them a monopoly on morality].”

“The term Christian essentially means ‘follower of Christ.’  The term evangelical comes from the Greek word that means “good news.” Evangelism is sharing the good news of the salvation that is available through Jesus Christ. An evangelical, then, is a person dedicated to promoting the good news about Jesus Christ. Combined, the description “evangelical Christian” is intended to indicate a believer in Jesus Christ who is faithful in sharing and promoting the good news.”

“A Christian is called [actually commissioned by Christ] to share [evangelize] the good news [Gospel], to preach God’s Word, and to set an example of [not dictate to] purity and integrity. If these callings require [require may be too strong of a term] political action, so be it. At the same time, evangelical Christians should not be sidetracked into abandoning our highest calling—sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

So, back to my musing.   It’s the Gospel, stupid!  Gospel is a word that is derived from the Anglo-Saxon godspell denoting “glad tidings” or “good news” (Baker encyclopedia of the Bible).  Among other definitions, stupid means  not intelligent, not sensible, not interesting or worthwhile (Merriam-Webster).

Evangelical Christians need not be apolitical, nor should they compromise their convictions or beliefs in the name of political expediency.  Speaking the truth in love is not mutually exclusive.  We should not speak the truth in an offensive or hateful manner, nor should the truth need to be silenced or watered down in order to keep peace and love.  While we cannot keep the world from hating us (Jesus said they would because they hated Him), nor finding the Gospel offensive (Paul said many would), we need not be hateful or offensive such that others find the “good news” to be “not intelligent, sensible, interesting or worthwhile” because of how we proclaim it.

My Advice – Let’s share what’s in our “lunchbox” with love and concern.  Let’s not beat others over the head with it in arrogance or self-righteousness.  It’s the Gospel, stupid! Let’s stay on task (get back on track).  Let’s help win the “election” for the lost.  Let’s keep our feet “beautiful” by bringing “good news,” proclaiming “peace,” bringing “good tidings,” and proclaiming “salvation.”  After all, its the only “campaign” with eternal consequences.  Our God reigns!

 

The New Jerusalem

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BEHOLD I MAKE ALL THINGS NEWThen I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. (Revelation 21:1-2)

The New Jerusalem –The New Jerusalem, “coming down out of Heaven from God,” is viewed by some as being separate and distinct from the earthly Jerusalem in which Israel in the flesh shall dwell during the Millennium, since it follows the creation of the new heaven and earth. When writing about the old Jerusalem, John uses a Greek term that is used in a political sense. John uses a different Hebrew term, that is used in a holy sense, when he refers to the heavenly city. Paul makes a similar distinction (common versus holy) when refuting Judaism (Galatians 4:26; Galatians 1:17, 18; 2:1; see also Hebrews 12:22). This Jerusalem from above is also referenced in Revelation 3:12 and Hebrews 11:10; 12:22; 13:14.(1)

Like any city, the old Jerusalem meant both the place and the people who lived there. In the same way, the New Jerusalem is a bride because its residents (people) are a bride (Revelation 19:7). Greco-Roman references to cities often described them as people. Jewish people were familiar with Old Testament personifications of Jerusalem and the Old Testament depiction of God’s people as his bride,(2) just as New Testament Saints are familiar with the references to the Church as the bride of Christ. Abraham “looked for a city … whose builder was God” (Hebrews 11:10). The New Jerusalem is that city.(3)

The fact that the New Jerusalem comes down from Heaven (it is not created) raises the question by some as to whether it will be in existence during the Millennium. The suggestion has been made that if the New Jerusalem is in existence during the Millennial reign of Christ, it may have been suspended in the heavens as a dwelling place for resurrected and translated saints, who nevertheless would have immediate access to the earth to carry on their functions of ruling with Christ. In the Millennium, it is unlikely that the New Jerusalem would rest on the earth, for there is an earthly Jerusalem and an earthly temple (Ezekiel 40–48). If such is the case, then the New Jerusalem would apparently be withdrawn from its proximity to the earth when the earth is destroyed at the end of the Millennium, and then return after the creation of the new earth. Though this possibility of a satellite city has been disregarded by most commentators, it would solve some questions surrounding the relationship between the resurrected and translated saints to those still in their natural bodies in the Millennium. Otherwise, these questions are left without an explanation.

Up Next – God dwells with man.(4)

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References

  1. Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 2, p. 601). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
  2. Keener, C. S. (1993). The IVP Bible background commentary: New Testament (Re 21:2). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  3. Wiersbe, W. W. (1992). Wiersbe’s expository outlines on the New Testament (p. 856). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  4. Walvoord, John F. (1985). Revelation. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 984). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

Able to Bear, A Way Out

1 Corinthians 10:13No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so you can stand up under it. (NIV 1978)

My Musings – A key word in this verse that can easily be missed is also. First off God has given us the ability to simply resist temptation. And while we do not need it, He also has given us a backup plan. With every temptation He will provide a way of escape.

My Advice – Do not think that your temptations are special. They are common. Others have escaped them and you can too. God doubly blesses with the ability to resist as well as a means of escape.