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Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple and to breaking bread in their homes. Acts 2:46a

Allie added a discussion

My name is Allie and my family and I may be moving to Tempe/Phoenix area in  a few weeks so I can receive cancer treatments. We are from Michigan. Hoping to find some believers to connect with there. Does anyone have contacts they could send on my name to? Would be nice to meet some Christians while we are there! We have 4 young kids and my husband would be working from home some. my email is alliebruski@gmail.com

Homeschoolers in Michigan. Home fellowship family too :)

I see a new generation of forward looking believers embracing simple New Testament Christianity while the backward looking, finger-pointing generation fades into oblivion.

Several prominent Christians have changed sides lately. Let's pray for the Gungor's, that they may be restored and made whole. They readily acknowledge that they were given too much responsibility at too early an age.

And let us be reminded that 'house church' itself is not the final answer. Christ is the first and final Answer. Church is but a means to this end: For us to worship and serve Him and one another in His name. 

He is always faithful and worthy of our praise. Even when doubts arise. They surely will.

Hi all, let's join in earnest prayer today for Josh Harris. And for his whole family, too. God can restore and God can heal.

Spiritual warfare - is it not all around us?

Link to the story.


Hi all, I received a request a few days ago about a good Christian book on the arts. This one came to mind - but really, there are dozens of them. The author was a friend of my Dad's so I may be a little biased. They were room-mates in Virginia, before WW2. I found some letters from him and dad in an old box of war letters.

"The lordship of Christ should include an interest in the arts," writes Francis Schaeffer. "A Christian should use these arts to the glory of God, not just as tracts, mind you, but as things of beauty to the praise of God." Many Christians, wary of creating graven images, have steered clear of artistic creativity. But the Bible offers a robust affirmation of the arts. The human impulse to create reflects our being created in the image of a creator God. Art and the Bible has been a foundational work for generations of Christians in the arts. In this book's classic essays, Francis Schaeffer first examines the scriptural record of the use of various art forms, and then establishes a Christian perspective on art. With clarity and vigor, Schaeffer explains why "the Christian is the one whose imagination should fly beyond the stars."

        AND

What is the place of art in the Christian life? Is art — especially the fine arts of painting and music — simply a way to bring in worldliness through the back door? We know that poetry may be used to praise God in, say, the psalms and maybe even in modern hymns. But what about sculpture or drama? Do these have any place in the Christian life? Shouldn’t a Christian focus his gaze steadily on “religious things” alone and forget about art and culture?

The Lordship of Christ

As evangelical Christians we have tended to relegate art to the very fringe of life. The rest of human life we feel is more important. Despite our constant talk about the lordship of Christ, we have narrowed its scope to a very' small area of reality. We have misun­ derstood the concept of the lordship of Christ over the whole of man and the whole of the universe and have not taken to us the riches that the Bible gives us for ourselves, for our lives and for our culture.

The lordship of Christ over the whole of life means that there are no platonic areas in Christian­ ity, no dichotomy or hierarchy between the body and the soul. God made the body as well as the soul and redemption is for the whole man. Evangelicals have been legitimately criticized for often being so tremendously interested in seeing souls get saved and go to heaven that they have not cared much about the whole man.

The Bible, however, makes four things very clear: (1) God made the whole man, (2) in Christ the whole man is redeemed, (3) Christ is the Lord of the whole man now and the Lord of the whole Christian life, and (4) in the future as Christ comes back, the body will be raised from the dead and the whole man will have a whole redemption. It is within this framework that we are to understand the place of art in the Christian life. Therefore, let us consider more fully what it means to be a whole man whose whole life is under the lordship of Christ.

The conception of the wholeness of man and the lordship of man over creation comes early in Scripture. In Genesis 1:26-27, we read, “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the heavens, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. And God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” From the very beginning, therefore, man and woman, being created in the image of God (both of them!), were given dominion (lordship) over the whole of the created earth. They were the ones who bore the image of God and, bearing that image, they were to be in charge, to tend the garden, to keep it and preserve it before their own Lord. Of course, that dominion was spoiled by the historic, space-time Fall, and therefore it is no longer possible to maintain that domin­ ion in a perfect fashion.

Yet, when a man comes under the blood of Christ, his whole capacity as man is refashioned. His soul is saved, yes, but so are his mind and body. As Christians we are to look to Christ day by day, for Christ will produce his fruit through us. True spirituality means the lordship of Christ over the total man.

There have been periods in the past when Christians understood this better than we have in the last few decades. A few years ago when I started to work out a Christian epistemology and a Christian concept of culture, many people considered what I was doing suspect. They felt that because I was interested in intellectual answers I must not be biblical. But this attitude represents a real poverty. It fails to understand that if Christianity is really true, then it involves the whole man, including his intellect and creativeness. Christianity is not just “dogmatically” true or “doctrinally” true. Rather, it is true to what is there, true in the whole area of the whole man in all of life.

~~~~~~~~

That's plenty enough to get us thinking, no? 

Oh, this is not a large book at all - more like a large pamphlet. Still a great place to get started with this important subject. Just remember, that when you pick up your drum sticks or paint brushes - God is very interested in what you are doing. Because you are made in his image - therefore a creative being.


First Things First

Matthew 6:25-34:

" For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?  26 " Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?  27 "And who of you by being worried can add a single  hour to his life?  28 "And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin,  29 yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.  30 "But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith!  31 "Do not worry then, saying, 'What will we eat?' or 'What will we drink?' or 'What will we wear for clothing?'  32 "For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.  33 "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.  

34 "So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

NASU

What does it mean to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness? Does it mean when you wake up in the morning you cannot feed the dog or let him out until you have read your bible? Is is okay to wash your face or have a cup of coffee first? Of course prayer and Bible reading can help to start your day. Those who start their day with prayer and seeking the Lord know that it can set the tone for the entire day and impart confidence to face common struggles. Seeking the Kingdom of God first could definitely include things like morning devotions.

Sometimes important things need to be first in the sense of how we spend our time, but priorities are also ordered in the value we place on them. In fact, there might come a time when work on something I see as valuable and important is delayed so that I can give it the time and effort it needs. And if a delay is possible, that does not mean my mind cannot be working on the problem or issue while I get lesser things out of the way.

On the other hand, often things are not as urgent as they seem, Many should be set aside while we take care of things that matter most. If our values are in order, we can begin to resist the temptation to let really important issues be pushed aside by lessor things.

What do you value the most? Jesus continually pointed us to the real treasures that most people fail to see. If we are not careful, we too can become consumed with the pursuit of material things, even those things the Father knows we need. The beauty of the real solution is in the simplicity of Christ's teaching. If we make the Kingdom of God and His righteousness our priority in life, our needs will be provided by God Himself!

The real issue here is the matter of trust. It has always been about trust. We have responsibilities in this life by God's design. When we agree with God's design and pursue them as He reveals, then our trust in Him is demonstrated. This is living by faith. On the other hand, when we take it upon ourselves to live by our own design we show that our dependence is not upon God but ourselves.

The wisdom of God is important to show us His plan for us. It also reveals the manner in which He empowers us to fulfill His plan. Jesus used a simple example in nature to teach the wisdom of God to His followers. Not only is He wise but He also cares for us as He cares for His entire creation! This understanding brings us to this choice: will we continue to struggle in our own way, or will we trust in His plan? 

This might take the proverbial "leap of faith" for some, but this is not "blind faith." It is a persuasion which comes in through God's patient parenting. It is a leap in the sense that every detail of God's wisdom will not always be fully understood. We know that life is full of situations where our uncertainty must be overcome by what we do know to be true.

Biblical faith is reasonable faith. It is also very practical. We must beware of those who insist that ours is not to ask questions. Our God and Father even insists through His apostles that we do in fact ask Him for answers. At the same time, we are not always able to comprehend everything, as a child might not always understand the reasons his or her parents give for saying "no."

From where I stand, believing and trusting in God makes sense. Somehow, He has over the years dealt with my resistance and unbelief. He has opened my blinded eyes to a glimpse of the beauty of His plan for us all. He has placed a hunger in my heart to understand and appreciate his Kingdom as it comes to this earth in great and small ways.

He can also do this for you. Just ask Him, and patiently wait for His answers! A wonderful surprise awaits you!

If you are like me, you might become weary of hearing the word 'racism' which has considerably evolved in its meaning. Still, it is quite real. My hope is that Christians will reach across all barriers in Jesus' name and meet together at his Cross. When it happens it is a beautiful thing. God smiles.

This woman is reading a letter which she received after her father had passed away. He was expelled from his church after he joined a Ministerial Alliance which favored equal rights for all. As he should have. 

I recorded this clip at a family gathering a few weeks ago. I would love to hear success stories in this regard from those who do not meet in traditional settings. Of course, regardless of the setting, we will rejoice.

England usually goes before the rest of the West. We see this over and over. They led the world with modern missions, freeing their slaves and too much more to cite. Such as the Beatles and National Health Care.

Interestingly, they had a house church movement back in the early 70's. As you can see from the book cover, it was personality driven and real enough to justify a book on the subject. Published in 1995.

It appears to me that much good was done. So, what can we learn from this history? And where did things end - which they did? And why? It was also spiritual-gift driven, which is a good thing if things are authentic. 

One of the leaders went to pray for an elderly sick woman in a wheel-chair. As he prayed, her cat jumped up out of her lap - and instantly died. She, however, was no better...   :)

More to come.


Ezer (Azar)

We have almost all been to a wedding ceremony sometime in our lives. The bride and groom come up to the front. For most Christian weddings there is a pastor. During the ceremony the pastor will give some sort of message which frequently includes quotes from Genesis chapter 2.

Now, I only remember one thing from my first wedding ceremony. It was in a Baptist church building in Port Neches, Texas. The pastor was reading from the KJV in Genesis chapter 2. I was in high school at the time and some family friends were getting married and I ‘had to go’. Starting off the pastor read “it is not good for man to be alone, I will make him a help meet.” That was it. The words ‘help meet’ reverberated in my head as I repeated them over and over. In fact, I did not realize they were two words. I thought it was one word for many years. The words stopped my mind. I could not make any sense of the two words. I had never heard anything like it before. I just decided it was some KJV gibberish that would never be of any concern to me for a long time. However, that time arrived when my son was married. I again reviewed Genesis, this time reading multiple different versions or translations of the Bible, and they all used this same word Helper which again did not make sense in the context i.e. Adam was alone so God made him a helper to take care of a garden?!?!

Then about six months before my daughter was to get married, I read some Jewish writings and they use the word “ally” instead of “helper”. This usage immediately sparked my interest again and started a study of this ancient Hebrew word ezer (from the verb azar).

Paleo-Hebrew

The union spoken of in Genesis 2:18, 20, not only speaks of the events of that moment, but also anticipates the future nature of the relationship between Adam and Eve by the Hebrew word used by the Holy Spirit. “Ezer” , a form of the verb azar (to help).

Now remember, Genesis was written by Holy Spirit inspired men ‘after the fact’. I believe the text in Genesis is meant to perform several functions: i.e., to record, to instruct, to explain, to illustrate, to prophesy, to reveal something of Himself, His Son, and the Holy Spirit. 

The words the Holy Spirit choose to use are brought forward to us now in translation. However, to gain a better understanding we will go back to the prime root word used, “azar”. The old testament terms for Helper are all based on the Hebrew verb azar; to help. The reason God made the woman was because “it was not good for man to be alone”. And He made a helper, but what kind of helper?

The Hebrew word azar is a primary root that occurs in all the ancient Semitic languages. In the old testament azar is used alone and in compound word approximately 80 times, generally indicating some sort of military assistance. Azar is used in a similar way in the other ancient Semitic languages. Thus some Jewish sources will translate ezer (from the verb azar) a as “ally”:

Genesis 2:18 “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him an ally who is like him”. As in a military ally. To continue our study of this word we will now look at the three letters which form it, in Hebrew, ayin, zayin, and reysh . Ancient semitic alphabets started out as pictures of various common objects, such as an ox, or a house. The individual letters were combined to form ‘word pictures’ to facilitate communication. Biblical Hebrew was most likely an offshoot of ancient Aramaic. over time the letters have changed shape but the original picture meanings are still there.

The first letter is ‘Ayin’, which in ancient Hebrew word picture means an ‘eye’. The ancient symbol was a circle or eye. The pictogram of an ‘eye’ symbolizes; to look or see, or watch for, to understand or comprehend, to be seen.

The second letter is ‘Zayin’, which in ancient Hebrew means a ‘weapon’. The ancient symbol was an ‘axe’. The pictogram of the ‘axe’ symbolizes, a weapon. Used in Hebrew words like armed, armed forces, armament.

The last letter is ‘Reysh’, which in ancient Hebrew means a ‘head’. The ancient symbol was like the number 9 . The pictograph of a head symbolizes; a person, a beginning, something which is most important, something raised up or elevated as the highest, a top, the highest chief.

Now lets try to put this relationship all together. Before the fall, the woman is:

1. Unique (not like the animals)

2. Made by God (man was created from nothing)

3. Companion (man should not be alone)

4. Divine (with the Spirit before the fall and now with the Holy Spirit in Messiah)

5. Ally (to give support, remain strong, to remain ready, to be strong, to come to his aid, to do spiritual battle with, supporter, deliverer, protector (pro-active) , defender, a friend, partisan, bodyguard, succorer.

6. Mirrors Messiah (the Lord is the ultimate Helper)

I personally believe that God was giving a message and prophecy when He picked this word Ezer (azar) to introduce Eve. He knew our future and our future needs. You might have a different phrase to describe Eve, however, I would use the phrase ‘Divinely appointed prayer warrior’.

Psalm 86:9. All the nations you have made will come and worship before you, Lord; they will bring glory to your name.

David was not a believer in the theory that the world will grow worse and worse and that the dispensation will wind up with general darkness, and idolatry. Earth's sun is to go down amid tenfold night if some of our prophetic brethren are to be believed. Not so do we expect, but we look for day when the dwellers in all lands shall learn righteousness, shall trust in the Saviour, shall worship Thee alone, O God, and shall glorify thy name. 

The modern notion has greatly damped the zeal of the church for missions, and the sooner it is shown to be unscriptural the better for the cause of God. It neither consorts with prophecy, honours God, nor inspires the church with ardour. Far hence be it driven!   C.H. Spurgeon, 1869.

One night I woke up at 3AM, my mind being flooded with questions and thoughts from the scripture related to challenges that have been made to my understanding about the scripture. I could not go back to sleep until I recorded them. These are offered for your consideration:

Is the Bible the Word of God? 

These days I have been hearing that the Bible is not the Word of God, because Jesus is the Word of God. The statement that Jesus is the Word of God made flesh is actually found in the Bible. But did Jesus Himself believe that the Bible is not the Word of God? When being tempted of the devil for 40 days, Matthew and Luke record for us how Jesus resisted temptation.

Satan challenged Jesus's sonship to God by telling Him He could satisfy His hunger by changing stones into bread. Jesus answered by quoting scripture:

"It is written, 'MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD'."

Matthew 4:4 NASU

To what was Jesus referring? Was He saying that He would satisfy His hunger by eating Himself, since He was the Word? Or is He saying that everything that God has and is communicating to us is our spiritual bread?

Consider Hebrews 1:1-3:

"God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power."

God spoke through His prophets, as recorded in the Hebrew Bible, which to Christians is the Old Testament. At the very least, the writer claims that the Bible is the record of what God spoke through the prophets. But both the Hebrews and the Early Church believed that even the record of His statements were breathed by the God the Holy Spirit as they were recorded.

God communicates both through the spoken word and through His actions. Psalms 33:6: "By the word of the LORD  were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth." The very act of creation communicates to us the nature of God. (Romans 1:20). Certainly God is not limited to communicating to us in writing alone, but writing is to be included and is to our benefit. (2 Timothy 3:16, Romans 15:4).

In this example from Matthew 4, Jesus used the scripture as a weapon against temptation, "the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God." (Ephesians 6:17, Hebrews 4:12).

Yes, Jesus is the Word of God, eternally. It was He who created all things, saying "let there be light." (John 1:3, Colossians 1:16). So why do we find it difficult to see that Jesus, the Word of God spoke through Moses, Samuel, Isaiah, David, and others when the Spirit of Christ was in them? (1 Peter 1:10-11). Just get out your concordance and see how many times you can find the phrase, "the word of the Lord came to Samuel, Jeremiah, Amos etc." every time God had something to say to His people.

That is why Jesus Himself called the scripture, the Word of God. (Mark 7:13)

In Acts, Luke calls the Gospel the Word of God:

Acts 6:7: "And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly;"

See also 8:14, 11:1, 12:24, 13:5,7,44,46, 17:13, 18:11, 19:20. 

So was Jesus increasing and growing? Or was the message He told the apostles to preach spreading?

To recap, both the things God has said, and His gracious and mighty acts as recording in the Bible, communicate God's Word to us. Jesus is the Word of God in eternity, and also as revealed in a human being who lived 2,000 years ago, the full and complete revelation of the person and nature of Almighty God. (1 Timothy 3:16)

In these modern times, fewer people believe as they did a generation ago, that the 66 books we have today are the authentic message from God which testifies of who Jesus is. Could it be because they are uncomfortable with the truth it contains, concerning our situation, and our need to totally depend upon Someone greater than us?


 

Jayne added a discussion

Heart of Worship by Micheal W Smith

When the music fades
All is stripped away
And I simply come
Longing just to bring
Something that's of worth
That will bless Your heart
I'll bring You more than a song
For a song in itself
Is not what You have required
You search much deeper within
Through the way things appear
You're looking into my heart

I'm coming back to the heart of worship
And it's all about You
It's all about You, Jesus
I'm sorry, Lord, for the thing I've made
When it's all about You
It's all about You, Jesus

King of endless worth
No one could express
How much You deserve
Though I'm weak and poor
All I have is Yours
Every single breath
I'll bring You more than a song
For a song in itself
Is not what You have required
You search much deeper within
Through the way things appear
You're looking into my heart

I'm coming back to the heart of worship
And it's all about You
It's all about You, Jesus
I'm sorry, Lord, for the thing I've made
And it's all about You
It's all about You, Jesus

I'm coming back to the heart of worship
And it's all about You
It's all about You, Jesus
I'm sorry, Lord, for the thing I've made
When it's all about You
It's all about You, Jesus!

administrator added a discussion

Unfair question, you say. And you are right. The devil does not have all the good music. (This was a song title from long ago. By Larry Norman.) 

Still, there is a huge amount of great music which is being lost as time marches on. Many excellent works in the praise and worship category. Can you believe that the 70's occurred about 40+ years ago?!? 

Let's try to recover some of the great things from the past. We can also link to audio and video. And post the lyrics, too. And the chords, too. What song would you add?

Dan Beaty added a discussion

J.H. Thornwell wrote more than a century ago:

"If the church could be aroused to a deeper sense of the glory that awaits her, she would enter with a warmer spirit into the struggles that are before her. Hope would inspire ardour. She would even now arise from the dust, and like the eagle plume her pinions for loftier flights than she has yet taken. What she wants, and what every individual Christian wants, is faith — faith in her sublime vocation, in her Divine resources, in the presence and efficacy of the Spirit that dwells in her — faith in the truth, faith in Jesus, and faith in God. With such a faith there would be no need to speculate about the future. That would speedily reveal itself."


Hello all. I am hoping for comments on something I have written. See below.

The End of the World?

Have you ever heard people say that the Bible contradicts itself? This was a statement that I often heard growing up by those who disliked what the Bible had to say about them! I am forever grateful to God that my mother, her family and her friends had a different view. When I was young I worked with an uncle who knew and loved God and who also loved the Scriptures. He studied the Bible every day and took special interest in the passages that people thought were contradictory. From him I learned the true meaning of many passages and realized that the same Holy Spirit Who inspired every part could not contradict Himself!

Many wonderful and godly individuals over the centuries have also believed that the Bible has a unified message. They have taken the time and resources they had to see how each passage and teaching would fit together into the whole picture. It was Paul who said he had not shunned to declare unto the people the whole counsel of God. (Acts 20:27). He had special insights that even his fellow apostle Peter found difficult to understand! (2 Peter 3:16)

Not everyone has the patience or the willingness to learn about the whole counsel of God. It is easy to find a passage that excites us and to ignore others that might bring better balance to our understanding.

For the past 150 years or so, Christians have become more concerned that we are living in the "Last Days," that were spoken of in the Bible. We are more aware of natural disasters, crime, injustice and wars than ever before, due to advances in communication. This can heighten our anxiety and concern for the future and seem to confirm that we coming to the end of time. But allow me to let you in on a secret. This is nothing new. Many times over the last 2,000 years people have thought the end is near! There have been many great wars, earthquakes, famines, and plagues that have wiped out major populations in the distant past.

There is reason to believe that the Coming of Christ is near, but that can mean different things to different people. In keeping with the belief that the Bible does not contradict itself, I would like to present a different view than what you might have heard about the end. In my previous messages I have not taken a verse here and there, but have shown the consistent goal of God from the beginning. In the midst of judgments and corrections He has continued to demonstrate His love for His creation and his plan to rule it in righteousness, peace and joy through His Son Who gave His life as a sacrifice.

The work of our adversary the devil has tested those who believe in and follow God, but the testing only serves to strengthen us in the end. The forward movement of the Kingdom of God in the earth through men like Abraham, Joseph, Moses, David, the prophets of the Old and the apostles of the New Testament have resulted in the Gospel and its influence spreading throughout the world today. The bold confession of every born-again Christian is that Jesus Christ is Lord -- right now and always!

Jesus and the prophets and apostles have shown us a glorious future in the Kingdom of God. Every Christian is told to pray the Kingdom to come and for God's will to be done in earth as in heaven. But are these prayers destined to fail? According to some views of Bible prophecy it would seem so. Every view of the end of times is based upon certain passages of scripture. Each version tries to reconcile the passages that seem to disagree. I completely understand and respect the serious scholarship of other views. And yet, I find points of disagreement in everyone so far that I have studied.

The foundation is that God is sovereign, and that He has a plan that cannot fail. He has painted a clear picture in the scripture of that plan to bless all the families of the earth through Christ, the seed of Abraham. His reign begins in each heart and spreads outward from there, impacting every area of society. In the mean time there is a great battle going on in the spiritual realm. That battle is reflected in the horrible and devastatingly evil actions of those who resist Christ. The enemy knows his time is short and he will intensify his efforts.

This battle is depicted in the figurative, symbolic language in the writings of prophets like Daniel, Ezekiel and John in the Revelation. Jesus Himself made use of dramatic symbolic language to depict the fall of Jerusalem after the people rejected Him. Most of the dire warnings in the New Testament were directed at that generation, but all of us should take seriously every word.

At the same time each word has to fit into the big picture as well. A large area of misunderstanding has come from the older English translations. When Jesus spoke of the end of the world, the Greek word, "Aion," an age, or period of time was used. The end of the age of the Temple and the sacrificial system was coming to a close. Jesus was the true Lamb that took away the sin of the world! The end of that age fully came after His crucifixion and the sacrificial system ended in 70 AD with the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple. In a sense, the older translation was correct for that world did come to an end!

Another passage that seems to contradict our optimistic understanding of the Kingdom of God is found in 2 Peter 3:3-13. He begins by warning that scoffers would deny the promise of Christ's coming. Then he reminds his readers that the world in Noah's day perished, being overflowed by water. The planet earth, however, was not destroyed! The word "world" in the Greek is according to Strong's dictionary: 

"kosmos-

orderly arrangement, i.e. decoration; by implication, the world (in a wide or narrow sense, including its inhabitants, literally or figuratively [morally]):"

In fact the planet and the atmosphere were both preserved. Noah's family was saved by the very water that brought an end to mankind's evil activities.

Please bear with me here. We are simply attempting to show how the Bible does not contradict itself. Often we encounter highly symbolic language in Biblical prophecy. This appears to be one of those instances. His point is that the Day of the Lord will come! The end of the day of evil is sure! He continues:

2 Peter 3:7

But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

KJV

The judgment is not against the planet or the sky, but against ungodly men and their habitation! In fact, the delay of His coming is because of the Lord's long-suffering and desire to see people repent so His creation can be blessed! His desire has always been to save the world! (John 3:16-17)

2 Peter 3:9

The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

KJV

The elements will be burned up, along with the heavens and the earth. If the language here is figurative, then the fire, which is often used to symbolize the Holy Spirit, the Word of God, and even God as the consuming fire, could be figurative as well. He could be saying that the elemental principles of this world will be consumed in God's judgment. Just as in Noah's day, heaven and earth become made new!

This is a place wherein righteousness fully dwells!

Paul even uses the metaphor of the new creation in relationship to those who are "in Christ." But are believers physically crucified, killed or destroyed when they become a "New Creation" in Christ? (2 Corinthians 5:17) Of course not!

If the language is not figurative, then much of what we have read before would seem inconsistent. 

Genesis 1:26-28: God was pleased for humanity to bear His image, and blessed them to be fruitful, fill the earth and take dominion over it.

Genesis 3:15: After the fall, God promised that the seed of the woman would bruise the head of the serpent, indicating the restoration and triumph of Christ over sin.

Genesis 12:1-3: God called Abram out and promised to bless him, so that all families of the earth would be blessed through him.

Deuteronomy 18:15-18: Moses told of a prophet to come which is fulfilled in Jesus Christ.

1 Chronicles 17:1-14: God promised King David that He would raise up his son to reign forever.

Isaiah 7:14: A virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, who would be Emmanuel, God With us.

Isaiah 9:6-7: A Son would be born, who would be called, Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the Prince of Peace, and His kingdom would reign forever.

Isaiah 2:2-4: The nations will come to learn of God's ways and He will put an end to war.

Daniel 2:44-45: In the days of the Roman Empire, the Kingdom of God will be set up and begin to fill the earth.

Mark 1:14-15: Jesus declared the Good News of God to repent for the time of the Kingdom had come.

Matthew 28:18-20: Jesus claims all authority in heaven and earth, commanding his followers to disciple the nations.

Acts 1:8, 2:4, the disciples are given power by the Holy Spirit to proclaim the Gospel of the Kingdom to the whole earth.

Acts 28:23-31: Paul takes the message of Jesus and the Kingdom of God to Rome, which later becomes the center of Christianity.

1 Corinthians 12:3, Philippians 2:9-11: The Church confesses Jesus is Lord now and that one day every knee would bow and every tongue would also confess He is Lord to the glory of God the Father.

Paul the apostle states in Romans 8:16-22 that the whole creation is earnestly waiting for God's sons to be revealed, and is groaning and travailing in pain in anticipation of its deliverance into the glorious liberty of the children of God. If the language in 2 Peter 3 is not symbolic or figurative, then this groaning to be delivered from the bondage of corruption would be only answered by total destruction!

That would also mean that Christ came in the time foretold to establish His Kingdom on earth only so His subjects would be forced to abandon that which was to be obliterated. In answer to what they have always prayed, this kingdom came to earth but not for long. The meek would inherit a doomed earth. The nations would come up to be taught the ways of the Lord, end all the fighting and then see all the good accomplishments destroyed by a literal fire.

Even the book of the Revelation does not describe the total destruction of the universe. It does describe the defeat of Satan, the New Jerusalem coming down from heaven to the earth, and the kingdoms of this world becoming the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Messiah!

With all of our individual biases, there are bound to be mistakes in our interpretation of prophesy. The basic direction that Christ has given His people is not so complicated. We are to do justly, love mercy, and to walk humbly with our God. We are to grow in grace and the knowledge of our Lord, to shine as lights in the world. We are to live as the salt of the earth, and to pray for our leaders and our governments in order to live peaceably and freely share the Good News.

The knowledge that His success actually awaits us, empowers me personally to fulfill my part in His plan. How about you?


Here for your perusal is a notable essay by a notable English scholar. It has been in print for about 150 years. 

I recommend it in that it reveals the different issues in play with regard to the church leadership conversation - not because it will settle these issues to your satisfaction. 

Source: Lightfoot's Commentary on Philippians. 1888.  The first paragraph is beautiful: 

"The kingdom of Christ, not being a kingdom of this world, is not limited by the restrictions which fetter other societies, poltical or religious. It is in the fullest sense free, comprehensive, universal. It displays this character, not only in the acceptance of all comers who seek admission, irrespective of race or caste or sex, but also in the instruction and treatment of those who are already its members. It has no sacred days or seasons, no special sanctuaries, because every time and every place alike are holy. Above all it has no sacerdotal system. It interposes no sacrificial tribe or class between God and man, by whose intervention alone God is reconciled and man forgiven. Each individual member holds personal communion with the Divine Head. To Him immediately he is responsible and from Him directly he obtains pardon and draws strength."

Sandy added a discussion

house 2 house magazine, I think. Is it still published? We subscribed before but we moved. That was several years ago.

Hi All, this clip goes back to the Sixties. My point is that the dramatic call to preach is vastly overrated.

Do notice that this gentleman from Wales did not require a miraculous call to preach. Instead he had burning convictions. If you have such a call - wonderful. If so, you are like Saul on the Road to Damascus and many others since. 

But please respect those who do not have such a remarkable call. Because it is not required. A "call" may be the response of an obedient servant to "go into all the world."

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones went on to leave his post at the hospital and proclaim Christ for almost 40 years!

The harvest is still great and the laborers still few. Let's not hinder one another. If another brother or sister has a "burning conviction"  - just stand back...  :)

This important essay appeared in the last century and became noted as a catalyst for the subject of house churches. The author is Floyd Filson.

Journal of Biblical Literature, Vol. 58, No. 2 (June, 1939), pp. 105-112


I uploaded this as a random test video. But wow, notice how cheerful some of the Chinese people are... I was quite surprised, myself. Almost every sentence ends with laughter. We sometimes think those of other cultures are unhappy compared to us in the West. This may be a false assumption.

When I was in school it was explained that the Chinese were Communists and Atheists and were therefore... very unhappy. And that their cities were naturally dark and dreary. Well, if that were ever true, it is much less so today. Quite the contrary, in fact.

OK, let's tie this in to the idea of alternative Christian churches. Parts of China are now very urbanized and the real estate is some of the most expensive on earth. When land is purchased it is in view of the area hundreds of feet above the ground. Because tall buildings are required to accommodate the living, working, and shopping needs of the teeming population, now over a billion. 

Church buildings are seldom more than a few stories high which makes them highly impractical and often unaffordable. The solution: Efficient house churches which meet in large rooms or large apartments - or even small ones.

Hi All, this site is being upgraded at the present but is still workable. Feel free to add content or start a discussion.

Several new features were added and thankfully, other than the timeline entries, no content was lost.

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