One hundred and one percent!!!

Click on the above link to view the video. 

From a small child, I have been using numbers.  Remember learning to count... 1, 2, 3...?  Then I learned to add and then subtract and do other things, but counting is basic to us all!  The other day, a friend of mine (Marge Avera) sent me the above video and I found it fascinating!!!  Math can be difficult and sometimes I have to really work at it, but it is worth it.  Understanding involves more than mere mathematics, for there is a spiritual side to life as well.  And this is far more than just logic; it is a wisdom than can transcend mere human understanding and reach for that which is beyond mortal comprehension... Paul puts it this way....

1 Corinthians, Chapter 2
 6 We speak wisdom, however, among those who are full grown; yet a wisdom not of this world, nor of the rulers of this world, who are coming to nothing.  7 But we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the wisdom that has been hidden, which God foreordained before the worlds for our glory,  8 which none of the rulers of this world has known. For had they known it, they wouldn’t have crucified the Lord of glory. 9 But as it is written, 
“Things which an eye didn’t see, and an ear didn’t hear,
which didn’t enter into the heart of man,
these God has prepared for those who love him.”

 Mathematicians look for a formula that will explain the entire universe; seeking to comprehend everything in a single formula.  They look in vain, for the answer has already been given in the person and work of Jesus, THE CHRIST!!!  And unlike mathematicians, he solved OUR PROBLEM of sin because HE LOVED US!!!  A love so deep, so vast that it goes beyond anything that makes any sense at all.  God loved us one-hundred and one percent and that is a number that solves simply everything!!!



As for many people, this past week has been one of tears, and for me, one of reflection. As the week-long ceremonies commemorating the passing of former president Ronald Reagan has been broadcast across the world, we have watched, sometimes through tears, sometimes with fondness, the making of history as it has etched its mark on a brief moment in time. 
The passing of great men is not without honor among those who have recognized what made them so. The lamentation of a people is the appropriate response of a nation once led by one who has faithfully executed his office with an unashamed trust in the providence of God. Such greatness is not determined by virtue of political party, or even governmental policy, but rather, by the measure of their conviction of the sovereignty of God and their courage to acknowledge Him so beyond mere lip service. Regardless of other possible considerations upon which many may disagree, the examples of uprightness of character, trustworthiness and kindness do not go unnoticed.

When king Saul was slain on the battle field, David eulogized him in honor of his office. "O daughters of Israel, weep over Saul, who clothed you in scarlet with luxury; who put ornaments of gold on your apparel. How the mighty have fallen in the midst of battle!" (2 Sam. 1:24-25) These were words spoken by one whom Saul had tried to kill on more than one occasion. Yet, David recognized that honor transcends personal opinion and so he acknowledged him as "mighty."

When Jacob died, he was honored by a nation of people who were not his own, and as the head of a fledgling nation, he was mourned in his passing. "So Joseph went up to bury his father; and with him went up all the servants of Pharaoh, the elders of his house, and all the elders of the land of Egypt, as well as all the house of Joseph, his brothers, and his father's house. Only their little ones, their flocks, and their herds they left in the land of Goshen. And there went up with him both chariots and horsemen, and it was a very great gathering. Then they came to the threshing floor of Atad, which is beyond the Jordan, and they mourned there with a great and very solemn lamentation. He observed seven days of mourning for his father. And when the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, saw the mourning at the threshing floor of Atad, they said, 'This is a grievous mourning of the Egyptians.' Therefore its name was called Abel Mizraim, which is beyond the Jordan." (Gen. 50:7-11)

As we mourn as a nation over the falling of a "mighty" leader, it is fitting that we honor one whose office demanded such. In the words of Daniel, "Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, for wisdom and might are His. And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding." (Dan. 2:20-21) It is by the hand of God that men are chosen to lead nations. It is part of the providence of God. 
When Pilate questioned Jesus, saying, " 'Do You not know that I have power to crucify You, and power to release You?' Jesus answered, 'You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above...'" (Jn. 19:10). Regardless of Pilate's ultimate decision, he was the one chosen by God to hold that office for that moment in time.

While the world empire of Rome was at it's zenith and its ruling authorities were to become antagonistic to Christianity to the point of persecution, Paul wrote, "Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God." (Rom. 13:1) In conclusion, he wrote, "Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor." (vs. 7) The office of one who leads a nation is to be recognized to be a place of honor among men. It is a part of the providence of God.

The providence of God is not easily defined because His greatness is beyond the scope of man's finite understanding. "Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has become His counselor? Or who has first given to Him and it shall be repaid to him? For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen." (Rom. 11:33-36) God is ultimately worthy of all honor, and those whom He appoints are therefore to be honored as well.

As a past president of this good land has gone the way of all the earth, it affords us the opportunity to reflect upon the providence of God who put him at the helm of this nation for that appropriate time . His generation is one of a passing legacy of honor for that which is good and right. It is one that, regardless of religious differences, had a common reverence for God. It is one which has today become a rare distinction in the midst of those who have forgotten that it is God who has blessed us as a nation. It is my solemn prayer that those who seek to remove every vestige of God's name from that which defines us as a nation, will be thwarted in their efforts by men such as this fallen one, who will unashamedly defend with resolute fervor the exalting of His name as our Creator and Sustainer. 
"Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." (1 Tim. 2:1-4) It is the God-ordained responsibility of government to secure and protect for its people the right to pursue their faith in God, to serve Him, and for His word to have free course. Those who lead us, who are sympathetic to such principles and to that which God's people hold dear, are worthy of our prayers on their behalf and of our honor for their office and their efforts to that end. God has blessed America as the fertile ground in which truth has been free to grow and flourish for a time. Let us all pray for men who will honor Him and value His providence                                                                         - Gary V. Womack - June 2004

Does God wait until...

Spending Time with Jim McGuiggan

Does God wait until...

Quoting a great sinner (David), Paul in Romans 4:7-8 says, "Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one against whom the Lord will not reckon sin." NRSV
He uses a double negative in 4:8 to stress the non-occurrence. As if, "The Lord simply will not do it!" Imagine someone asking a righteous man or woman to do something that thoroughly lacks integrity, trying repeatedly to get them to agree. Imagine the righteous person closing the matter with a final, "I simply will not do it!" and you have the tone of Romans 4:8. "There’s little point in you trying to persuade me to do this. There is no way that’ll happen."
What do we have here? We have a sinner whose sin is recognised as precisely that—sin! We have a Lord who simply will not hold that sin against this sinner. No wonder David and Paul call such a person "blessed"!
But not everyone is blessed in this way. A blessing of that magnitude belongs to a certain class of persons. "Obviously—they’re God’s ‘pets’." No, God has no "pets". God is a God of holy grace and life with him is a gift of grace but the kind of life he gives cannot be other than a relationship that takes its direction and shape from his own character. Who are these blessed people? They are people who live in covenant with God and have by faith embraced what "life" with God means. See http://www.jimmcguiggan.com/perplexed/lesson.asp?id=61
Within that covenant life and union their sins are not held against them (non-imputation, forgiveness and covering are all equivalent in Romans 4:7-8). This is a relationship of grace between two covenant partners that are not equal. But the relationship doesn’t obliterate our moral weakness or our capacity to sin. God knew and knows that—how could he not know it? He called sinners to his side! It is sinners he makes his companions (see Luke 15:1-2 and elsewhere).
But they aren’t sinners that actively despise him and rejoice in the scorn they have for him. These are convicted, contrite and repentant sinners that in his name seek to glorify God and bless his creation. But sinners just the same! To them, in holy grace God credits no sin.
But surely they must be repentant. I’ve said so! But repentance is more than a frame of mind we adopt at the moment when we have done something wrong. It is a mindset that God in holy grace has drawn us into when we committed to him in covenant relationship. Repentance is an aspect of the relationship we entered! Just like the purpose to honour and support our spouse or our friend when we entered the relationship with them. The mindset permeates the relationship. It isn’t an isolated act or thought or emotional response that happens every so often.
It’s impossible to have a true friendship with someone we think we can treat as abominably as we wish anytime we wish. Such a mindset knows nothing of friendship. Friendship has built into it an attitude and purpose toward the other that leads to a certain kind of behaviour toward that other. So it is with the friends and companions of God (compare James 4:4).
We are not to think that a Christian commits a sin and her sin hangs over her head until she goes through a specific mental and emotional act at which moment God forgives her or decides not to record her sin against her.
We are not to think that the cross of Jesus Christ was to make it easier for us to sin or to make evil appear less evil. Neither are we to live with the spiritual jitters, ceaselessly wondering if, having committed ourselves in faith to God, he is holding our sins over our head as an ever-present threat.
There is no assurance of sins forgiven for those not covenanted with God; that’s what holy grace means. But for those that are in a faith relationship with him, sins are not credited against them because that’s what holy friendship means.

Bible Reading, Jan. 22

Jan. 22
Genesis 22

Gen 22:1 It happened after these things, that God tested Abraham, and said to him, "Abraham!" He said, "Here I am."
Gen 22:2 He said, "Now take your son, your only son, whom you love, even Isaac, and go into the land of Moriah. Offer him there for a burnt offering on one of the mountains which I will tell you of."
Gen 22:3 Abraham rose early in the morning, and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son. He split the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went to the place of which God had told him.
Gen 22:4 On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place far off.
Gen 22:5 Abraham said to his young men, "Stay here with the donkey. The boy and I will go yonder. We will worship, and come back to you."
Gen 22:6 Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son. He took in his hand the fire and the knife. They both went together.
Gen 22:7 Isaac spoke to Abraham his father, and said, "My father?" He said, "Here I am, my son." He said, "Here is the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?"
Gen 22:8 Abraham said, "God will provide himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son." So they both went together.
Gen 22:9 They came to the place which God had told him of. Abraham built the altar there, and laid the wood in order, bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar, on the wood.
Gen 22:10 Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to kill his son.
Gen 22:11 The angel of Yahweh called to him out of the sky, and said, "Abraham, Abraham!" He said, "Here I am."
Gen 22:12 He said, "Don't lay your hand on the boy, neither do anything to him. For now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me."
Gen 22:13 Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and saw that behind him was a ram caught in the thicket by his horns. Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering instead of his son.
Gen 22:14 Abraham called the name of that place Yahweh Will Provide. As it is said to this day, "On Yahweh's mountain, it will be provided."
Gen 22:15 The angel of Yahweh called to Abraham a second time out of the sky,
Gen 22:16 and said, "I have sworn by myself, says Yahweh, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son,
Gen 22:17 that I will bless you greatly, and I will multiply your seed greatly like the stars of the heavens, and like the sand which is on the seashore. Your seed will possess the gate of his enemies.
Gen 22:18 In your seed will all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice."
Gen 22:19 So Abraham returned to his young men, and they rose up and went together to Beersheba. Abraham lived at Beersheba.
Gen 22:20 It happened after these things, that it was told Abraham, saying, "Behold, Milcah, she also has borne children to your brother Nahor:
Gen 22:21 Uz his firstborn, Buz his brother, Kemuel the father of Aram,
Gen 22:22 Chesed, Hazo, Pildash, Jidlaph, and Bethuel."
Gen 22:23 Bethuel became the father of Rebekah. These eight Milcah bore to Nahor, Abraham's brother.
Gen 22:24 His concubine, whose name was Reumah, also bore Tebah, Gaham, Tahash, and Maacah.

Obadiah: The Judgment Of Edom, Mark Copeland

                    "STUDIES IN THE MINOR PROPHETS"

                Obadiah - The Judgment Of Edom (1:1-21)


1. The first of the "The Minor Prophets" we shall consider is Obadiah,
   whose book is the shortest of all books in the Old Testament

2. His name means "Servant of Yahweh (Jehovah)", and was quite
   a. Thirteen different people are called by this name in the Old 
   b. One Jewish tradition identifies him as the one who was Ahab's 
      1) Who hid 100 prophets from Jezebel, Ahab's wife - 1Ki 18:3-4
      2) Who feared the Lord from his youth - 1Ki 18:12
   c. He may have also been...
      1) The Obadiah sent by Jehoshaphat to teach the law in Judah 
         - 2Ch 17:7
      2) The Obadiah who was one of the overseers in repairing the 
         temple under Josiah - 2Ch 34:12
   -- Whoever this Obadiah was, his message contains valuable lessons
      for us today

[Before looking at the book itself, let's consider some...]


   A. THE DATE...
      1. Two dates are often proposed:  845 B.C. and 586 B.C.
      2. The prophet refers to an attack on Jerusalem; commentators 
         offer these two possibilities:
         a. The days of Jehoram (848-844 B.C.), when Philistines and 
            Arabians attacked the city - 2Ch 21:8-10,16-17
         b. The destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians (586 B.C.)
      3. The internal evidence appears to support the early date of
         845 B.C. (Keil, Hailey)
         a. The language of Obadiah is much different from Jeremiah
         b. There is no mention of the destruction of the temple, the
            deportation to Babylon, the remnant who went to Egypt
      -- I accept the early date, that it was around 845 B.C.

      1. The fall of Edom
         a. Because of its pride
         b. And its cruelty against Israel, their cousins
      2. The exaltation of Zion
         a. When Seir, the Edomite counterpart of Zion, will be cast 
         b. The rescued of Israel will be in Zion, for in it the 
            redeemed shall be found
      -- For this reason I have subtitled this lesson as "The Judgment
         Of Edom"

      1. The people of Edom descended from Esau, Jacob's twin brother
      2. There was sibling rivalry between Edom and Israel, found first
         in Esau and Jacob
         a. The twins struggled in their mother's womb - Gen 25:22-26
         b. Esau sold his birthright to Jacob - Gen 25:27-34
         c. Jacob stole Esau's blessing as the firstborn - Gen 27
      3. While Jacob and Esau eventually reconciled (Gen 32-33), their
         descendants were often at odds with one another
         a. In the Exodus, Edom refused Israel passage through their
            land - Num 20:14-21
         b. Edom was finally subjected by David - 2Sa 8:13-14
         c. During the reign of Jehoram, Edom revolted - 2Ki 8:20-22
      4. Located south of the Dead Sea, they built their cities in the
         cliffs and thought themselves impregnable
      5. After the prophecy of Obadiah...
         a. The Edomites were overcome by the Nabataeans, forced to 
            settle south of Judah
         b. Around 100 B.C., they were conquered by John Hyrcanus of
            the Maccabees
            1) Who forced many of them to be circumcised and accept the
            2) As such, many became nominal Jewish proselytes (Herod
               the Great was one)
         c. By 100 A.D., Edom as a race and nation had become lost to

[With this background, let's now read through the prophecy of Obadiah,
with the aid of the following...]


      1. The decree has gone forth to the nations (1)
      2. Deceived by pride in her location, Edom will be brought down 
      3. Destruction will be complete (5-6)
      4. Edom will be betrayed by allies (7)
      5. Not even wisdom and might can save them (8-9)

      1. For violence and unbrotherly conduct toward Jacob (10-11)
      2. A rebuke against such conduct (12-14)
      3. Therefore the "Day of the Lord" for them will mean receiving 
         the same sort of treatment! (15-16)

      1. Deliverance and holiness will be found on Mt. Zion, not Mt. 
         Seir (the prominent mountain in Edom)! (17a)
      2. The house of Jacob shall consume the house of Esau (17b-18)
      3. The children of Israel will possess Edom and surrounding
         nations (19-20)
      4. The ultimate rule will be that of the Lord's (21)

[With this brief perusal of Obadiah's "vision" concerning Edom (1),
here are some thoughts regarding...]


      1. Edom's destruction began with the Babylonian invasion under
         Nebuchadnezzar (ca. 600 B.C.)
      2. It continued into the fourth century B.C. with the invasion of
         the Arabs known as the Nabataeans, forcing them to a region 
         south of Judah
      3. In the second century B.C., the Maccabees brought them under
         subjection when Judas Maccabeus slew twenty thousand of them
      4. John Hyrcanus (134-104 B.C.) forced the remnant to accept
         circumcision and the Law

      1. May likely have been with the coming of the Messiah (Jesus 
      2. For with His coming, and the establishment of the spiritual
         kingdom beginning in Jerusalem...
         a. Deliverance and holiness did come from Mt. Zion (i.e. 
            Jerusalem)! - Lk 24:47
         b. The kingdom (rule) is the Lord's! - cf. Lk 1:31-34; Mt 28:
            18; 1Pe 3:22; Re 1:5
         c. The house of Jacob (i.e., the true spiritual Israel) did 
            possess Edom as the Gentiles among them became Christians!
            - cf. Ro 11:13-18 (where faithful Gentiles are spoken as 
              being grafted into the stock of Israel)
      3. As support for this interpretation, consider:
         a. The prophecy of Balaam - Num 24:15-19
            1) Which foretells how "A Star shall come out of Jacob, A
               Scepter shall rise out of Israel" (the Messiah?)
            2) And how Edom will be come a possession
         b. The prophecy of Amos - Am 9:11-12
         c. The application by James at the council in Jerusalem - Ac 15:13-17
            1) Who understood the conversion of the Gentiles to be a
               fulfillment of Amos
            2) Therefore the fulfillment is figurative, not literal, as
               Gentiles become Christians

[Finally, a few thoughts about some...]


      1. Pride leads to vanity and a sense of independence from God
      2. Just as Edom took pride in their geographical location, 
         allies, wisdom and might
      3. Such arrogance God will punish - cf. Isa 13:9-11
      -- Are we on guard against such pride?

      1. This was Edom's guilt also (10)
      2. How we treat our brethren affects our relationship with the 
         Lord - cf. 1Co 8:12
      -- Are we careful about our dealings with our brethren?

      1. This Edom did when Judah was plundered (12)
      2. This sort of gloating is displeasing to God!
      -- Do we rejoice when our enemy falls?

      1. Note again verse 17, where Mount Zion would become a place of
      2. Today, spiritual Mount Zion is a place to which we can turn 
         - cf. He 12:22-24
      3. It is a place where we can find:
         a. "the city of the living God"
         b. "the heavenly Jerusalem"
         c. "an innumerable company of angels"
         d. "the firstborn registered in heaven"
         e. "God the Judge of all"
         f. "the spirits of just men made perfect"
         g. "Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant"
         h. "the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than 
            that of Abel"
         -- Of course, this is what we come to as we obey the gospel of


1. With this brief look at "The Book Of Obadiah", we have seen that...
   a. The prophets were not limited in their prophecies to just the
      nation of Israel
   b. God held the heathen nations accountable for their actions
   c. While it was written primarily to comfort the Israelites in 
      Obadiah's day, there are lessons to be gleaned for us as well
   d. The message of hope may have had its ultimate fulfillment in what
      we can enjoy ourselves today, in the person and work of Jesus!

2. In verse 15, we find the expression "the day of the Lord"...
   a. An expression often used by the prophets referring to God's 
      judgment upon the nations
   b. The particular "day of the Lord" of which Obadiah wrote was 
      "near", and was fulfilled with the destruction of Edom
   c. But there is another "day of the Lord" yet to come...!
      1) Of which God's judgments upon the nations were only a shadow,
         a type
      2) Peter writes of that day, in which the whole world will be 
         judged - 2Pe 3:7-13

Are we ready for that "day of the Lord"?  Or do we in our arrogance
take pride in our wisdom, might, or position in life?  If so, "the 
pride of your heart has deceived you" (3). How much better to humbly
recognize that...

   "...on Mount Zion there shall be deliverance, and there shall be
   holiness;" (Ob 1:17)

Have you come to Mount Zion, and to Jesus the Mediator of the New 

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011