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Check out our new Blog Page – Audio Bible Studies. I will continue to add links as I am able to record lessons and get them uploaded. Bookmark the page and check back often, or follow us on SoundCloud

I’ll warn you – I have a “Southern Appalachian” accent and I make no apologies for it 🙂 But I hope you enjoy them and learn from them.

And hey – let me know what you think!

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How do you stand?

 

In the midst of your occupation – how do you stand?

How do you stand in your walk?

How do you stand in your talk? – How do you stand?

We’ve heard the cliché (and I think even a song or two) that says, “If you were on trial for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?”

Perhaps a better way to put it would be, “You ARE on trial for your soul – is there any salvation to save you?”

In other words, do you really believe what you say you believe? Do you believe it enough to live it?

I’m not talking about “in your face, hit you over the head with it, woe is me, martyr -complex” Christianity.

I’m talking about, “they will know we are Christians by our love” and “”For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits himself? For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes in His glory.”

If you’re in a situation where Christians are being made fun of, do you stand, or do you just keep silent? If sinful behavior or demeaning language, or crude joking is taking place around you, do you speak up, or “let them have their fun”?

Do your friends and colleagues know you are a Christian, or do you only speak of it when you’re around other “known” Christians?

There is a way to stand, and still love – they are not mutually exclusive behaviors. We have only to look to the example of our Savior. He loved, but He was intolerant of injustice, and He was intolerant of sin – in any shape, form, or fashion.

Paul said that we are to “believe in our hearts and confess with our mouths” that Jesus Christ is Lord. He did not say, “Believe in our hearts (all the time) and confess with our mouths (when it is safe and doesn’t affect our jobs, our friendships, or our social standings) that Jesus Christ is Lord.”

He must be Lord all the time, or He is not Lord at all!

How do you stand?

Prayer:

Father, I lift up those who are having a hard time standing. It is difficult. In the midst of our professional lives, where we must “make our living” where we must not “rock the boat” where we must “maintain our professional edge” we often fear ridicule and being ostracized. We fear the consequence of being “one of those…”

In the midst of our social lives, where we “let our hair down” where we “go to have fun” where we want to be “one of the gang” we fear laughter and mockery. We fear being “left out…”

And in the midst of our family lives – Oh God! – In our family lives, it is sometimes so difficult. These are the folks who know us best – the ones who knew us “before” and know us “during.” These are the ones who see us when we’re tired, and hurting, and vulnerable.  These are the ones who see how we react ALL the time.

Father, may we just wrap ourselves in the mantle of Your Grace and Love and wear that wherever we go, whoever we’re with. May we not be afraid, or ashamed to Stand. “And having done all – to stand…”

In the Name of the One who never wavered – our Lord and our God… Amen.

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I’ve added a new page to my blog. It’s called “Book Journey”. You can read about it here. I will be sharing writings that I hope to incorporate into a series of books. Some will be duplicates of previous blog posts – some are brand new. I hope to share these devotionals daily – if you haven’t signed up to receive Prayerlogue posts, please do so – and please share them.

Also I’d appreciate your feedback (especially encouraging words! Ha!) But, actually anything that you think will help me. Either comment or e-mail me (e-mail info can be found here.

So – for today let me share this…

How do I worship Thee? Let me count the ways – from the depth of my soul to the height of my dreams; from the length and breath and girth of my being; from my conception to my demise; from my insides to my outsides – O LORD, I will worship Thee.

I will call upon You in the night, and sing to You in the morning, and remember You in season and out of season, in darkness and light, in sorrow and in joy; in pain and in pleasure – You, O LORD, will I praise. Amen.

The first segment is titled:

Why Pray?

God said, “Pour out your heart to Me and I will hear and answer, and show you things you do not know.” (Paraphrase Jeremiah 33:3)

Save Me From Despair

In checking the search terms that bring people to my blog, those having to do with “despair” always touch my heart. Today one simply said, “Save me from despair”.

Oh God! What must they be feeling to type these words into an internet search engine? Are they searching for You? Have they given up on You? Do they even know You?

What is despair? Have you ever felt what you would call “despair”?

When we are children, despair is getting our ball stuck on the roof or losing the ice cream from our ice cream cone. A little later it’s not having a date for the dance or not making the team.

Then despair is not getting the job or wrecking our car – our only mode of transportation. Things change as we age and it’s the phone call in the middle of the night – or no phone call at all. It becomes the doctor’s report or the sound of sirens, coming closer. It’s the look in a loved one’s eyes, and the news that follows. It’s another bill that’s due, or two, when there is no work and no money.

For others around the world, it’s the sound of gunfire and airplanes or a knock on the door.

Despair changes as we age and our circumstances change, but the knot in the pit of your stomach remains the same. If you are in that spot today – I am praying for you.

Will you pray for me?

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Questions Along the Way

Do you ever have times when you feel like the ground is completely giving away beneath you? Perhaps this message, taken from the series “From Supper to Sunrise” will encourage you.

Jesus and the disciples have just left the Upper Room and are headed to the Garden of Gethsamane – and they are feeling the weight of the moment… and they have questions.

Do you also have questions when times are troubling. May God use these words to encourage you. Amen.

 

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Our Wednesday night women’s Bible study group continued our study through the book of Joshua this week. We were on chapter 7 which I titled “The Battle at Ai – Part One”. The subtitle was “Sin in the Camp”. (Note: I have another blog post titled “Sin in the Camp” therefore this one is #2).

Looking back at the battle of Jericho we said that Jericho represented that type of battle where we are facing something we’ve never faced before. The Israelites had fought a few battles through the wilderness wanderings – but those were “normal” types of battles – hand to hand combat. Jericho, on the other hand, was a “walled city”. They’d never battled an enemy in a walled city before.

And sometimes we face battles and circumstances that we’ve never faced before either. We saw in chapter 6 how to fight such a battle as this.

Ai, however, represented a completely different type of battle. This represents a battle of the flesh. This is a picture of those types of battles that we go into thinking, “I can handle this… This will be ‘a piece of cake…’ There’s no need to pray about it or  bother God with this dinky battle. I’ll just take care of it…” And then we get routed and are forced to run from the enemy with our tails between our legs.

I shared a poem (of sorts) with the class titled “I saw a little worry” which describes how we can get caught up in thinking “I can handle this”. (To read “I Saw a Little Worry go to https://prayerlogue.wordpress.com/2015/02/22/i-saw-a-little-worry

The battle at Ai also shows us what happens when there is “sin in the camp” – and that is – we’re defeated before we even begin!

Read the last verse in Joshua 6, and then chapter 7 to discover what sin caused Israel’s defeat, and what God’s response was.

Is there sin in your life that is causing your defeat?

To read more on “Sin in the Camp” go to https://prayerlogue.wordpress.com/2012/11/08/sin-in-the-camp

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Plow Points:

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The Fulfillment of the First Three Feasts of the Jews

There are so many more things going on during the Passover/Crucifixion timeframe than we ever get a chance to cover during the Easter season. In this post I’m going to share what I’ve called “The Fulfillment of the First Three Feasts of the Jews”.

 

It is during Passover/Feast of Unleavened Bread/Feast of First Fruits that the Crucifixion/Resurrection takes place. (For more information on the specifics of the Feasts see Leviticus 23)

 

We know “somewhat” what Passover is. It celebrates the final plague that takes place while the Israelites are in Egypt. (See Exodus 12-13 and Leviticus 23:5) A “lamb without blemish” was killed and the blood placed on the doorposts so that the Angel of Death would “pass over” their house. (Interestingly, being “Jewish” did not save them – only having the blood on the door. No matter what their race, if they did not have the blood on the door, they were subject to the same plague as the Egyptians.)

 

Passover is, of course, only a “foreshadowing” of Christ’s shedding of blood for the atonement of our sin. Jesus is the “Perfect Lamb.”

 

The Jews celebrated Passover every year on the fourteenth of Abib (or Nisan depending on pre or post exilic calendar name) which falls somewhere between our mid-March and mid-April. The Jewish calendar revolves around the lunar calendar – in other words, the phases of the moon. Each “new moon” constitutes a new month. Therefore, Passover can fall on any day of the week, depending on when the full moon occurs.

 

The Jewish “day” goes from sundown to sundown (remember Genesis 1:5 “And the evening and the morning were the first day”) therefore on (our) Maundy Thursday at sundown, Passover begins.

 

The next day (Friday at sundown) the Feast of Unleavened bread begins. (See Leviticus 23:6) This feast lasts 7 days. Leaven, in the Bible represents sin and evil. The unleavened bread in the New Testament represents the Body of our Lord. Part of the Jewish Passover ceremony includes burying a piece of the unleavened bread before the day of Passover is over, in other words, before sundown on Friday… and remember, Jesus was buried before sundown on Friday…

 

Jesus’ followers (those who were left at the cross) wanted His body taken down from the cross and buried before the Sabbath began (at sundown.) What they didn’t realize was that they were actually fulfilling the Feast of Passover by the shed blood of “The Lamb” and burying His sinless (unleavened) body before the day was finished. And for even more “fulfillment” – the “middle piece” of the loaf of bread is what is buried. Jesus is the “middle part” of the Trinity – Father, Son, Holy Spirit.

 

The next feast, “First Fruits” takes place on the Sunday following Passover. Since the feast of unleavened bread lasts 7 days, one of those days will be a Sunday. On that day is the Feast of First Fruits. The feast of “First Fruits” is when the Israelites would bring the first offering from the early crops of their spring planting to God. (See Leviticus 23:10-11)

 

In the year of Jesus’ death, “First Fruits” occurred 3 days after Passover. (Thursday at sundown began day one; Friday at sundown began day two; and Saturday at sundown began day three – three days in the ground – Matthew 12:40.) So, all three of these major celebrations – Passover, Feast of Unleavened Bread, and Feast of First Fruits – all “happen” to take place back to back the particular year that Jesus was crucified.

 

Paul makes it clear in 1 Corinthians 15:23 that Jesus is the fulfillment of this feast. Jesus is the “First Fruit” to be resurrected from the dead. Yes, others were “raised” from the dead, but only Jesus was “resurrected” and given His resurrected body. It was not just “any” day that Jesus chose, but the very day of “First Fruits”. He fulfilled the feasts of Passover and Unleavened Bread, with the appropriate actions, and then finally He fulfilled “First Fruits”

 

And not only did Jesus fulfill these first three feasts, but He also presented a “First Fruits” offering to God. As Jesus hung on the cross, an earthquake occurred and graves were opened in Jerusalem. When Jesus was resurrected the bodies of “the saints” came out of these tombs. (Matthew 27:52-53.) Thus Jesus “showed the Father the early crops of what will be a magnificent harvest later on.” (From “The Seven Feasts of Israel” by Zola Levitt.)

 

We miss an important truth by calling our celebration “Easter” instead of “First Fruits” because “first” indicates that there will be others to follow. Paul did not call Him the “only” fruit, but the “First” Fruit. And anyone who believes in Him will someday be given a new life, too.

 

Now, let me add this – we know that God decreed that the penalty for sin is death. Period. Anything short of complete perfection and righteousness… is death. But then, He paid that penalty. “Well,” you might say, “Why couldn’t God have created a ‘sliding scale’ for sin? You know, the worse the sin, the worse the punishment?” And, in a way He did, but that’s just the “judgment” OF the sin. Sin, itself requires death. “The wages of sin is death.” And again we ask “why.” Why did the sacrifice have to be a “blood sacrifice”?

 

Well, I don’t know the “official” answer, but this is what I believe.

 

I believe it is so that we would know just how much God loves us. If the penalty had not been so severe – if the penalty had just been “according to” the sin; if the penalty had not required blood – we would never have known that God loved us so much that He would take that the very penalty (that He demanded) upon Himself for us. Wow.

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