Friday, July 29, 2016

The Book of Proverbs – A Look at How Simple yet Complex Proverbs Are (Part 2)

Let’s look at the benefits of wisdom according to the book of Proverbs.
Read 2: 12 – 15:
 12 Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men,
   from men whose words are perverse,
13 who have left the straight paths
   to walk in dark ways,
14 who delight in doing wrong
   and rejoice in the perverseness of evil,
15 whose paths are crooked
   and who are devious in their ways.
Whoa. A lot of strong words there. I definitely want to be saved from the “ways of wicked men”; nobody’s going to scam me; I’m not going to get pulled into some stupid prank or dangerous activity. (Teenagers take note.)
Read 3: 1 – 2:
1 My son, do not forget my teaching,
   but keep my commands in your heart,
2 for they will prolong your life many years
   and bring you peace and prosperity.
Did you catch the blessing that comes with remembering the Lord’s teaching and command? Long life. Peace. Prosperity.

Friday, July 22, 2016

The Book of Proverbs – A Look at How Simple yet Complex Proverbs Are (Part 1)

Proverbs in the Hebrew bible is entitled Mishleh which is the first word in this book. It comes from the Hebrew word “mashal” which conveys a sense of superiority in thought as well as being the root word for governing or ruling. The first two words of chapter 1 are “mishleh shlomo” or “the best part of Solomon.” What was the best part of Solomon? His wisdom, his superiority in thought.
The book got its English name from the Latin proverbium, “a common saying,” from the parts pro “forth” and verbum “word”—putting words forth—I should have figured that out on my own. We’ve come to understand proverbs as concise, to the point sayings that hold the wisdom of Solomon. The word wisdom, in fact, appears 53 times in this book, more than twice as many times as any of the other Bible books considered wisdom books.
Proverbs has six main sections:

Friday, July 15, 2016

Finding Jesus in the book of Psalms

The Psalms were written by various authors spanning a time period of almost 1000 years. Among the authors were Moses, David and Solomon, and also priests or Levites who were responsible for providing music for sanctuary worship during David's reign. Fifty of the psalms designate no specific person as author. The oldest psalm in the collection is probably Psalm 90, the prayer of Moses and the latest psalm is probably 137, a song of mourning written when the Israelites were being held captive. The book of Psalms is a compilation of prayers, poems, and hymns that focus on praising and adoring God. Some were used in worship services of ancient Israel. According to Talmudic tradition, psalms were sung by the Levites immediately after the daily pouring of the wine offering. The word Psalm comes from the Greek word psalmoi meaning pious songs. The Hebrew title is Tehilim which means “hymns of praise.” There are several types of Psalms, among them are hymns of praise, instructional hymns, and funereal songs.
The New Testament illustrates virtually the whole history of salvation in the light of the Psalms.

Jesus is the Son of God: Psalm 2:7, 22:10
Jesus is the Shepherd: Psalm 23
Jesus spoke in parables: Psalm 78:2
Jesus calmed the storm: Psalm 89:9
Jesus was rejected: Psalm 69:8, 20
Jesus was conspired against: Psalm 31:13
Jesus was betrayed by Judas: Psalm 41:9, 55: 12 – 14
Jesus was crucified: Psalm 22:1,2,7,8, Psalm 89:50-51, 69:21, Psalm 22:14-18,  129:3,              Psalm 34:20
            Jesus conquered death: Psalm 16:10, Psalm 68: 18, Psalm 118: 20, Psalm 110:1, Psalm              80:17
Jesus is the King of Righteousness: Psalm 110:4
Jesus will judge the nations: Psalm 89: 3 – 5
His reign is eternal: Psalm 89: 35 – 37
He will rule the Earth: Psalm 72: 8, 11
He will judge the Earth: Psalm 98:9, 50:4

The New Testament as a whole has 224 separate passages from 103 different psalms. Some passages appear in different places making a total of 280 psalm quotations in the New Testament.
I’ve studied the acrostic verses in Psalms before studying each book of scripture because they are linked to each Hebrew letter and to each book of scripture in a supernaturally amazing relationship (see Crossing theScriptures). To explain again, the acrostic (or alphabetic) verses are when the writer has used the letters of the Hebrew alphabet as the initial letter for a sequence of verses. Starting each verse or stanza with the next consecutive letter may have been an easier way of memorizing Scripture, but it is also an astounding proof that God has ordered the books of the Bible to fit with the key alphabetic words revealed in these special verses. Acrostics occur in Psalms 111 and 112, where each letter begins a line; in Psalms 25, 34, and 145, where each letter begins a verse; and in Psalm 37, where each letter begins every other whole verse with 4 exceptions where the letter starts 1 or 3 verses for a total of 40 verses. Psalm 119 is the most elaborate manifestation of the acrostic method where, in each section of eight verses, the same opening letter is used, and the twenty-two sections of the psalm move through the Hebrew alphabet, letter after letter. There are 176 verses, 8 verses for each of the 22 Hebrew letters. The first 8 verses each start with the Hebrew letter Aleph, the next 8 with Bet and so on through the alphabet (alephbet). We have lost the amazing beauty of the psalm in translation. 

Friday, July 8, 2016

A Detailed Look at the Book of Job

Job is one of the few books in the Hebrew Bible that isn’t named for the first words of the text. This book is called “Iyyowb” in Hebrew which means “hated one” or “persecuted one.” Most scholars think that this book was written by Moses. It is the first of our 5 poetical books of wisdom. The purpose of the book is to show God’s wisdom, the wisdom of His ways, His benevolence and also to answer the age-old question: why do bad things happen to good people? (Short answer: there are no good people - only God is good.)
The preceding 17 books barely mentioned righteousness, but Job has 22 occurrences of the word. This will obviously be a theme here. Tzaddik means righteous, from the 18th Hebrew letter Tzaddi.
Job lives in Uz which is another word play as Uz means “take counsel” and if you’re already familiar with the story of Job you know that he takes counsel from his friends after suffering family tragedy, financial losses and health problems. The description of Job depicts a righteous man. He was blameless and upright, feared God and shunned evil. The word shunned here is the translation of the Hebrew word “suwr” and is a verb that means to turn away, to go away, to desert, to quit, to keep far from, to stop, to take away, to remove. Job shows us how to be righteous: just shun evil.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Random Excerpt from THE GUARDIAN'S DIARY

A guardian angel has no problem with speed or distance. As a spirit being I can guard my charge continually. Continents, oceans, airplanes are not obstacles. Obstacles are demons. I’ve been to this continent before, decades ago, and I expect to fight here again. Physical, cultural progress may have been realized in the cities and even in the villages along the rivers or deep in the jungles, but spiritual progress does not exist. Progress is not the right word – growth, evolution, advancement, steps forward – no. Repentance is what is needed – a turning around. The demons will flee only then. I may have to fight.

Jedidiah knew he was being hard on Jenna. He was confused more by his feelings than anything else. Holding her hand that first hour of the flight was more than just a way to ignore his fear of flying. He was comforted, yes, but he caught such a buzz, his heart racing at first, his body reacting quickly, that he thought he must be really falling for her.
The news about Allison should have been just as exciting. He had built a fantasy around rescuing her and now to hear that she had suffered so terribly, been pregnant, given birth ... he felt childish and sadly inadequate.
The plane was minutes from landing and he and Jenna hadn’t spoken in hours. One or the other had slept or had feigned sleeping most of the night, as uncomfortable as it was in the confined space. He had read his magazines and she had finished hers. They had eaten their meals in silence though she had made a couple of attempts at humor. Jedidiah couldn’t find anything funny right now. How should he act when he saw Allison? How should he behave around Jenna?
“Look,” Jenna said, “I know you’re mad at me. Please don’t be. I couldn’t stand for my, my best friend not to talk to me for the next ten days.”

“I’m not mad. I just hadn’t thought that ...  well, it’s kind of shocking that Allison has a baby and all. I . . .” he trailed off and shifted in his seat. His stomach did a flip-flop as the jet rapidly descended. He could see land out the cabin windows. He reached for Jenna’s hand. “We’re landing!” he shouted, his ears stuffed up again.

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