Friday, March 17, 2017

Haggai, part 2, third and fourth prophecies



Continuing on with the prophecies in the Old Testament book of Haggai:
Verse 10 of chapter 2 gives the date of the 3rd prophecy as December 18, 520 BC. Read 10 – 19:
 10 On the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, in the second year of Darius, the word of the LORD came to the prophet Haggai: 11 “This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘Ask the priests what the law says: 12 If someone carries consecrated
meat in the fold of their garment, and that fold touches some bread or stew, some wine, olive oil or other food, does it become consecrated?’”
   The priests answered, “No.”
 13 Then Haggai said, “If a person defiled by contact with a dead body touches one of these things, does it become defiled?”
   “Yes,” the priests replied, “it becomes defiled.”
 14 Then Haggai said, “‘So it is with this people and this nation in my sight,’ declares the LORD. ‘Whatever they do and whatever they offer there is defiled.
 15 “‘Now give careful thought to this from this day on—consider how things were before one stone was laid on another in the LORD’s temple. 16 When anyone came to a heap of twenty measures, there were only ten. When anyone went to a wine vat to draw fifty measures, there were only twenty. 17 I struck all the work of your hands with blight, mildew and hail, yet you did not return to me,’ declares the LORD. 18 ‘From this day on, from this twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, give careful thought to the day when the foundation of the LORD’s temple was laid. Give careful thought: 19 Is there yet any seed left in the barn? Until now, the vine and the fig tree, the pomegranate and the olive tree have not borne fruit.
   “‘From this day on I will bless you.’”
This may seem like a confusing prophecy, but Haggai now asks the people a question which the priests are supposed to answer: If a priest is carrying something holy and he touches something unholy, like a corpse, does that make the corpse holy? The priests answer no. If the person who is unclean touches the priest, does that make the priest unclean? The priests answer yes. What is the point of this?

Friday, March 10, 2017

Haggai, part 1, first 2 prophecies



Haggai’s name means “festive” or “festival” and it is awesome to learn that his second message (2:1–9) was delivered on the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles, an important Jewish festival. He was a prophet who most likely was born before the first Temple was destroyed in 586 BC. Perhaps he remembers the glory of the amazing Temple. He is an old man when he prophesies and we know precisely when he made each of his prophecies, right down to the exact date.
To begin, there are 4 prophecies and according to chapter 1, verse 1, the first one is made on the first day of the sixth month of the second year of King Darius, which was August 29, 520 BC. The Lord is angry with the people for stopping their work on the Temple and focusing on their own homes instead of His.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Zephaniah, part 2


Zephaniah prophesies about the Great Day of the Lord in Zephaniah 1:14-18. I’ve put in bold red print the words that show the complete devastation of what will happen:
14 "The great day of the LORD is near—
       near and coming quickly.
       Listen! The cry on the day of the LORD will be bitter,
       the shouting of the warrior there.
 15 That day will be a day of wrath,
       a day of distress and anguish,
       a day of trouble and ruin,
       a day of darkness and gloom,
       a day of clouds and blackness,
 16 a day of trumpet and battle cry
       against the fortified cities
       and against the corner towers.
 17 I will bring distress on the people
       and they will walk like blind men,
       because they have sinned against the LORD.
       Their blood will be poured out like dust
       and their entrails like filth.
 18 Neither their silver nor their gold
       will be able to save them
       on the day of the LORD's wrath.
       In the fire of his jealousy
       the whole world will be consumed,
       for he will make a sudden end
       of all who live in the earth."
Yikes! Hurry.

Friday, February 24, 2017

The Structure of Zephaniah, part 1



This Old Testament book was written by Zephaniah, whose name means “God has secreted” or “Jehovah hides.” He was of royal lineage as is revealed in the first verse.
Though he prophesied in a time of revival, the coming captivity was imminent and Zephaniah points out that the revival is superficial. He foretells the coming invasion of Nebuchadnezzar, judgment on certain peoples, the moral state of Israel and the judgment of the nations followed by kingdom blessing under Messiah.
If you read the first chapter you’ll notice how angry God is in verses 2 and 3. In Genesis we read the creation account and learned that God created the fish then the birds then the animals and then man. Now here we have God sweeping everything from the face of the earth and in the reverse order: men, then animals then birds then fish. Despite the awfulness of these verses I can’t help but be amazed at God’s order. For those who like to say that the God of the Old Testament seems vengeful, angry and bloodthirsty and that their God is kind and loving, I’d like to point out that God is both loving and just. Of course He is going to get angry. When will man honor, worship, love and obey only Him?
There were 7 types of people that God will “cut off” according to chapter 1. They are pagans (vs.4), astrologers (vs.5), worshipers of other gods (vs.5), those who reject God (vs.6), those who side with the heathen (vs. 8), idol worshipers (vs. 9) and those who presume that God is indifferent to them (vs.12). What do these 7 groups of people have in common?

Friday, February 17, 2017

The Structure of the Old Testament Book of Habakkuk


Habakkuk is a small, but important book in the Old Testament. This little book was written by the prophet Habakkuk, whose name means either “the embracer” or “the wrestler.” Interestingly, Habakkuk wrestled with the question of why God would let evil go unpunished and why God would bring tragedy and misfortune on His own people. But at the same time he embraced salvation by faith.
Let’s read Habakkuk’s 1st complaint in chapter 1, verses 2 through 4 (New International version):
2 How long, O LORD, must I call for help,
       but you do not listen?
       Or cry out to you, "Violence!"
       but you do not save?

 3 Why do you make me look at injustice?
       Why do you tolerate wrong?
       Destruction and violence are before me;
       there is strife, and conflict abounds.
 4 Therefore the law is paralyzed,
       and justice never prevails.
       The wicked hem in the righteous,
       so that justice is perverted.
Well, people just don’t seem to follow God’s rules and Habakkuk doesn’t seem to understand why God allows this to go on. The law is paralyzed and justice doesn’t prevail. The evildoers are surrounding the righteous and justice is perverted. This sounds pretty current to me. Think about it. Here are the same verses in a really modern translation (The Message):
1-4 The problem as God gave Habakkuk to see it: God, how long do I have to cry out for help
   before you listen?
How many times do I have to yell, "Help! Murder! Police!"
   before you come to the rescue?
Why do you force me to look at evil,
   stare trouble in the face day after day?
Anarchy and violence break out,
   quarrels and fights all over the place.
Law and order fall to pieces.
   Justice is a joke.
The wicked have the righteous hamstrung
   and stand justice on its head.

   
We find God’s answer in verses 5 – 11 and essentially God says He is going to use the Babylonians to punish Israel.
What’s Habakkuk’s next complaint?

Friday, February 10, 2017

Ever Hear of the Bible Book Called "NAHUM" ?


The book of Nahum was written by Nahum, a prophet who was a contemporary of Jeremiah. It had been about 150 years since Jonah was sent to Ninevah. Ninevah had repented, but now the people were turning away from God. (What else is new?)
Nahum’s name means consolation or comfort.
Nahum 3:7:

“And it shall come to pass, that all they that look upon thee shall flee from thee, and say, Nineveh is laid waste: who will bemoan her?  Whence shall I seek comforters for thee?” 
We Christians think of God as loving, kind and gentle and often forget that He is righteous and fierce and will avenge our faithlessness with great wrath. To get a real feel for this read the opening of the book of Nahum: chapter 1, verses 1 – 6:

 1 A prophecy concerning Nineveh. The book of the vision of Nahum the Elkoshite.
 2 The LORD is a jealous and avenging God;
   the LORD takes vengeance and is filled with wrath.
The LORD takes vengeance on his foes
   and vents his wrath against his enemies.
3 The LORD is slow to anger but great in power;
   the LORD will not leave the guilty unpunished.
His way is in the whirlwind and the storm,
   and clouds are the dust of his feet.
4 He rebukes the sea and dries it up;
   he makes all the rivers run dry.
Bashan and Carmel wither
   and the blossoms of Lebanon fade.
5 The mountains quake before him
   and the hills melt away.
The earth trembles at his presence,
   the world and all who live in it.
6 Who can withstand his indignation?
   Who can endure his fierce anger?
His wrath is poured out like fire;
   the rocks are shattered before him.

As I’ve explained in my book CROSSING THE SCRIPTURES there are phenomenal links between the 22 Hebrew letters and the 66 books of the Bible. Nahum corresponds to the 12th Hebrew letter, lamed, as does 2nd Kings. We are 22 books past the book of 2nd Kings where Elijah was carried up in a whirlwind, where the Jordon was dried up, where the chariot and horses of fire separated Elijah and Elisha. Did you see these three things again in these verses? Isn’t it amazing how there are links between the books that match up with the same Hebrew letter?

In fact, back in 2nd Kings chapters 15, 18 and 19 you can find the story, the fulfillment of the prophesy found here in Nahum, chapter 1, verses 7 -14. Pull out your Bible and work it out for yourself.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Micah, part 3



Let’s look at the fulfilled prophecy in the little Old Testament book of Micah.
Here’s one verse from chapter 5:
 2 “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
   though you are small among the clans of Judah,
out of you will come for me
   one who will be ruler over Israel,
whose origins are from of old,
   from ancient times.”
Has this prophecy been fulfilled? Yes, Jesus was born in Bethlehem.
In chapter 6 the writer asks about coming before the Lord with burnt offerings. He even asks if he should offer his firstborn for his transgressions. What does God answer? Read 6:8:

8 He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
   And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
   and to walk humbly with your God.

So, God DOES NOT require sacrifices. He’s going to take care of that for us. What he requires from us is to act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with God.
Final thoughts on Micah – read 7: 18-20 and feel the great relief in these words:

18 Who is a God like you,
   who pardons sin and forgives the transgression
   of the remnant of his inheritance?
You do not stay angry forever
   but delight to show mercy.
19 You will again have compassion on us;
   you will tread our sins underfoot
   and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.
20 You will be faithful to Jacob,
   and show love to Abraham,
as you pledged on oath to our ancestors
   in days long ago.

If I were a Jew I would be clinging to these verses for sure. In them we find so much hope and mercy and love.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Micah, part 2

Last week we looked at the first two chapters of Micah. In chapter 3 God blames Israel’s leaders and in chapter 4 there are some end times prophecies.
God will establish a great earth power, a supreme kingdom, with lesser powers or nations beneath it. This will be a universal kingdom with a teacher, Jesus, who will teach us. It will be a peaceful kingdom and there will be universal prosperity.
Do you want to read about Armageddon and the Tribulation period? Here you go (my comments are in parentheses and red ink):

Friday, January 20, 2017

Micah, part 1



The next book in the Old Testament is Micah. The name means “who is like God?” The prophet Micah was a contemporary of Isaiah and he spoke out strongly against immorality, social injustices and the oppression of the poor by the rich. Let’s look first at chapter 1 verse 2:
2 Hear, you peoples, all of you,
   listen, earth and all who live in it,
that the Sovereign LORD may bear witness against you,
   the Lord from his holy temple.
So is this prophecy for you? Appears so. And it looks like the Lord is going to bear witness against us.
What did we do? Hmm, the usual . . . See here in chapter 2, verses 1-2 man’s plans:
 1 Woe to those who plan iniquity,
   to those who plot evil on their beds!
At morning’s light they carry it out
   because it is in their power to do it.
2 They covet fields and seize them,
   and houses, and take them.
They defraud people of their homes,
   they rob them of their inheritance.

Friday, January 13, 2017

The Book of Jonah


The book of Jonah was probably written by Jonah though scholars seem to be divided on this. This book is read at the afternoon service of Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish year. On this day Jews fast and say prayers of penitence.
Yes, this is the book with the story about Jonah and the whale. God sent Jonah to preach to Nineveh, a great but wicked city. Nineveh stood on the eastern bank of the Tigris River. It had walls that were a hundred feet high and fifty feet thick. STOP. WHAT? 50 FEET THICK! WOW! The main wall had fifteen gates. That sounds like a lot, but that wall was over seven and a half miles long. The population of Nineveh was about 600,000 people including those who lived in the “suburb” outside the city walls. That population estimate is based on a curious verse we’ll look at last.
These residents were wicked idolaters who worshiped Asur and Ishtar, chief male and female deities. Most of the Assyrians worshiped them and since Assyria was a threat to Israel’s security (see Hosea 11:5 and Amos 5:27) this was one reason Jonah didn’t want to go to Nineveh. He was afraid that if the people did repent then God would not punish them and this did not sit well with his self-righteousness.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Obadiah ... WHO?



Yup, we're continuing on in 2017 with looking at the structure of Old Testament books in the Bible.

Next up is the book of OBADIAH.

Obadiah’s name means “the servant of Yahweh.”
The book is a vision recounted by Obadiah. Obadiah tells us that the vision is what the Sovereign Lord says about a place called Edom. Edom is identified with the Islamic God, Allah, and the West Bank Palestinians. This is quite relevant to today’s current events.
Point one (verse 2): God will make Israel “small among the nations.” Certainly true today as Israel is looked down on now by other nations. Recent UN sanctions show how much neighboring countries hate Israel.
Point 2 (verse 4):
Reference seems to be made to Palestine and the US with the words “eagle” (on the Palestinian emblem and a US mascot) and “stars” (on the US flag).
Point 3 (verses 6 and 7):

Friday, December 30, 2016

Last Post of 2016, Excerpt from THE GIRL IN THE TIME MACHINE






[a little background before you read this excerpt: Laken Mitchell wants to get even with the girls who bullied her, but when she discovers their troubles - what makes them behave this way - her compassionate nature compels her to help them instead. Maybe sending them to the last century is a bit extreme, but it solves everyone's problems. Almost.]

excerpt:

It was one in the morning and I had a golden opportunity for revenge. I couldn’t help myself. I took her to the lab. She was not too drunk to walk up to the third floor, but she was definitely too out of it to realize that my telling her to lie down on the ‘massage table’ was not going to end well for her.
I chose that day’s date and some random coordinates close to what was already on the screen. What did I care?
Poof, the bitch was gone. And nobody was going to think anything other than that she ran away from home.
I locked up and stepped outside. The dark monastery in the middle of the woods was creepy enough after midnight, but before I could open the car door I heard far off shrieks, like the sound a rabbit makes when a bobcat pounces. The screams were faint at first, then frantic. And human. I grabbed the flashlight from the car, pushed the gate all the way open and ran for the path to town. Between the ghastly moonlight and the fairly strong beam in my hand I followed the trail to the rusty car. The cries were growing less frequent.
“Help me.”
Erica was impaled on the bumper of the old vehicle. Part of her left leg was buried in the ground along with her left arm up to her elbow. She looked like someone rising out of bed, but sinking down at the same time. Blood dripped into the dirt.
I choked back bile to keep my hysteria at bay. “Shh, I’ll get you out. Stop screaming.”
I searched around for something to dig with and used a couple of sticks to free her leg and arm from the ground. I pulled on her to help her stand and the shriek that pierced the night was unearthly. A rusty shard of metal broke off and more blood gushed.
“I’m so sorry. I’m so, so sorry.” I really was. She didn’t deserve what was happening to her, not for being mean to me, or for being a bully, or anything. But what could I do? She’d seen the time machine. Even drunk she had to realize she traveled from the lab into the forest, into the ground actually, by incomprehensible means.
I tore off my shirt and tied it around her, hoping to stem the flow of blood. I needed her to walk back. We got halfway back before she dropped to her knees. She’d soaked through my shirt and neither of us could hold enough pressure on the wound.

Available at most online bookstores

Friday, December 23, 2016

Our Log Home Christmas

We call home BIG PINE LODGE  and we love it.






MERRY CHRISTMAS !