Hidden Treasures

The Bible is much more than a book of religion.

Tragedy of Calvary

THE MATTER OF TIME

Before I get into what some would call the tragedy of Calvary; because there appears to be some confusion regarding the matter of time in this story; let’s get that settled first.    As we read the story of the crucifixion of Jesus, we soon become aware of the seeming confusion of time.  There are two methods of reckoning time:  Roman time and Jewish time.

Most of us use Roman time.  That is,   the first hour is 1 AM.   The sixth hour is 6:00 AM.  etc.

Jewish time begins at six o’clock in the morning making it the first hour. The third hour would be our 9:00 AM  and the sixth hour would be our noon. The ninth hour would be our 3:00 PM.

Both Roman and Jewish time are used to tell the Crucifixion story.   When the story takes place in Pilate’s Hall, a Roman Hall, because he is the Roman governor of Palestine,  Roman time is used.

Outside of Pilate’s Hall,  Jewish time is used.  So when Pilate is speaking from his judgment Hall in John 19:13-14,  it says it was the sixth hour.  That’s 6:00 AM, Roman Time.

In Mark 15:33, we read it was the sixth hour when darkness fell over the land of Palestine.  This is noon Jewish time, or six hours since the first hour, 6:00 AM.

Now that we have that settled, let’s get on with the Calvary Tragedy. Though the world would call this a   tragedy, we Christians see it as the great triumph of the ages.  This was the time that God conquered sin and death through the death and resurrection of His beloved Son Jesus.

The Tragedy is divided into three acts.  Act 1  is from  the third hour until the sixth hour; that is, from 9 AM until noon.  

Act 2  is from the sixth hour to the ninth hour; that is, from noon until 3 PM our time. 

Act 3 describes what took place at 3 PM, the ninth hour and following, Jewish time.

Jesus hung on the cross the six hours from 9 AM until 3 PM.  That is, from the third hour until the ninth hour, Jewish time.

ACT ONE

 

 

This was from the third to the sixth hour Jewish time, or from 9:00 till noon.

 

This act is all about Jesus being crucified.  It’s all about the cruelty of the Roman soldiers and the mocking and scorning of the people.  The people appear to be in charge in Act 1.

It’s in this first Act that Jesus  prays for forgiveness for His enemies.  It’s in this act  that the repentant thief finds forgiveness of sin and assurance of Heaven shortly before he dies.

It’s in this act that Jesus speaks to his mother, Mary and the disciple John; turning over the care of His mother to John.  It’s at this time a little before noon that John took Mary home to His house so that both of them could be spared any further grief watching Jesus die.

ACT TWO

 

This was from Noon until 3 PM our time, the sixth to the ninth hour Jewish time.

Precisely at Noon the sun ceased shining and it became pitch dark all over the land.  It was so dark one could feel it. It was as dark as it would be in a mine or a cave with no candles or flashlights or electric lights.

During these three hours the Roman soldiers and the murderous Jewish mob had absolutely no control of the situation. Also during those three hours of darkness, the mocking and scorning of Jesus ceased.  God Himself was now in charge. The people were terrified into silence.  Whereas the first three hours were all about  man’s cruelty and hatred;  the next three hours were all about the wrath of God being poured out on His beloved Son, Jesus. as well as  the people around Him, were feeling the terror of God.

It was the wrath of God being poured out on Jesus that makes His crucifixion a saving event for us.  You see, salvation is deliverance from the wrath of God that we  sinners deserve because of our sins.  The reason we are saved from that wrath is because it has been poured out on Jesus.  Romans 5:8 says that God shows His love to us by executing His holy, sinless Son in full payment of the penalty for our sins.

Throughout the Old Testament, God showed His wrath by bringing thick darkness on people.  You may remember that thick darkness was one of the plagues on the Egyptians when  God was getting ready to deliver Israel from slavery.  All though  the Prophets, we read of the darkness of God’s judgment in the Day of the Lord.

In those three hours from the sixth through the ninth hours, the infinite Son of God was experiencing not only the cruelty of man; but the wrath of God, separated from His Heavenly Father.  He was experiencing in three hours the Hell that the lost will experience throughout eternity.  God the Father literally forsook His beloved Son through those hours so that we could be saved by trusting in His substitutionary sacrifice for our sins.

ACT THREE 

 

3 pm our time or  the ninth hour Jewish time.

At three o’clock  the sun immediately resumed shining and the sunlight once more flooded Palestine and the crucifixion scene.

When the three hours of darkness were over, Luke 23:48 describes the Jews as  smiting their breasts in grief and terror.

Having experienced hell for three hours, Jesus cries to God,  “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?”   Now that He had consciously experienced Hell those three hours, perhaps Jesus, as a man,  expected the comforting presence of God, His Father.  That presence was not felt.  Perhaps this is one of final horrors of Hell.  God will NEVER be there to comfort.  Jesus must feel this fully: the everlasting torment of Hell and the eternal absence of God’s comfort in those six hours on the cross.

Would you also note that this is the only time in the Gospels when Jesus referred to God in any other way but, “Father”?

FINISHED!

In John 19:28 Jesus knowing that He had accomplished His work on the cross,  said, “I thirst.”  The soldiers soaked a sponge in vinegar and wet his lips and throat.   Though Jesus had been slowly suffocating to death as He struggled to breathe;  suddenly with supernatural strength He raised up on the nails one more time, and shouted at the top of His lungs, “FINISHED!” That shout reverberated throughout the area and everyone heard it.   Then  He bowed His head in death and committed His Spirit to His Heavenly Father.

What was finished?  The full payment for all the sins of the world throughout all the ages was paid in full.  Anyone going to Hell, does so because in their pride and self-righteousness, they feel that they are not so bad as to need a Saviour; and thus, they  reject God’s gracious Gift of Salvation which has already been paid in full through Jesus’ shed blood on the cross.

What was finished?  The Old Testament temple and its sacrifice of animals for sin.  At the same instant, the veil in  the temple was supernaturally ripped from top to bottom, opening our way into the very presence of God. Can you imagine how the priests reacted to this as they were preparing to sacrifice the Passover Lambs? Can you imagine them looking into the Holy of Holies, a place they had been forbidden to look upon pain of death up to this time?

This was the end of the Old Testament Ceremonial Law system with its laws concerning Sabbaths and Ceremonial Feast Days. No more would the Passover ever have to be observed, for now Christ is our Passover Lamb slain once for all for our sins.  See I Corinthians 5:7 on this.

This was the end of the temple worship system.  It was the end of the animal sacrifices for sin.  Access to God was now directly open through the shed blood of Christ.   I encourage you to read and reread  Hebrews 10 and let this wonderful truth soak in until you understand it.

One other amazing event took place at 3:00 that afternoon.  A great earthquake  occurred  which broke up giant rocks and boulders.  Graves were opened and Old Testament saints rose from the dead and appeared in the streets of Jerusalem. It doesn’t say, but I believe they later ascended to Heaven, a little foretaste of the great resurrection that takes place at the time of our awaited Rapture spoken of in I Thessalonians 4:13-18  and I Corinthians 15:51-58.  Ephesians 4:8 may refer to that ascension of Old Testament saints with Jesus.

What took place at Calvary ought to convince any sinner that there is no sin against God that cannot be forgiven.  If God could save    the thief on the cross and the Centurion and some of his soldiers involved in the crucifixion, as Matthew 27:54 states and if God could save some of the priests later on, according the Acts 6:7;  you are not too great a sinner for God to save. 

If your trust is in the sacrifice of Christ for your sins, you will never face the wrath of God, for Jesus has already taken that wrath for you.  His blood was shed in full payment for your sins. Will you trust Him right now?

 

May 26, 2010 Posted by | Passion Week | Comments Off on Tragedy of Calvary

Crucifixion of Christ

If you will go to the category Jesus, you will find a medical doctor’s description of Jesus’ crucifixion.  This article will not be a repeat of that description; rather some thoughts from the Biblical account of His crucifixion.

SIX HOURS ON THE CROSS FOR JESUS, THE INFINITE SON OF GOD,  EQUALS ETERNITY IN HELL FOR THE ENTIRE HUMAN RACE SINCE ADAM.

What amazing grace and infinite loving condescension of God to pour out His wrath on His own beloved Son in order to pay the penalty of our sins. What is God’s love?  How is it shown to us?  Here it is according to Romans 5:8.  God shows His love to us by sending His Son to die, thus paying the  price of eternal damnation in Hell for all repentant sinners who would trust Him.   The infinite Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, paid the price of sin, eternity in Hell for the entire human race since Adam to this present time;  and He accomplished it in six hours on the cross.  His six hours on the cross is equivalent to eternity in Hell for all mankind!!!

Read Psalm 22 for a detailed prophecy of Jesus sufferings and death on the cross written a thousand years before it happened. Note the details of Jesus’ sufferings and some of the words that He uttered on the cross.

THE SIGN ABOVE THE CROSS

 

Pilate had the sign written,  JESUS OF NAZERETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS.   It was written in Hebrew, Greek and Latin so all the known world would know who it was on that middle cross.  Pilate was convinced that it was true and he was convinced that Jesus was innocent of any crime worthy of  execution. He repeated that at least three or four times. 

Yet, to save his position as the Roman Procurator of Palestine, he gave in to the insistent demands of the Jewish leaders that Jesus be crucified. It made Pilate furious.  To get back at the Jews He had this sign made to fasten to the top of Jesus’ cross.

When the Jews saw it, they were furious.  They demanded of Pilate that he change the sign to read that it was Jesus’ claim to be King of the Jews. Pilate had given in to the Jews as far as he would go.  With his teeth gritted in determination and anger, he announced to the Jews, WHAT I HAVE WRITTEN, I HAVE WRITTEN. (Like it or lump it!!!)  So the sign stayed as it was and was nailed to the top of the cross so all could read it.

THE CRUCIFIXION ITSELF

 

Before they began, the soldiers offered Jesus a drink of  vinegar and bitter gall as a sedative to make it a little easier for Him.  Jesus tasted it and spit it out.  He wanted nothing to dull or ease the suffering He was enduring for our sins.

A quaternion of four Roman soldiers, who were calloused to suffering and death and who were adept at the job, quickly nailed Jesus to the cross with spikes in his wrists (which is considered part of the hands)  and a spike through his two feet placed one on top of the other. These were large iron spikes perhaps 8-12 inches long.

The two thieves were nailed to crosses on either side of Jesus.  Then the soldiers sat down to watch him die.  It was then that they heard Jesus pray for them,  “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”

As was the custom of the soldiers, they divided his clothing among them: His outer cloak, His sandals,  His head piece  and his sash or belt.  When it came to His beautiful seamless robe some loving person had made for Him, the soldiers decided to cast lots for it rather than cutting it into four parts. In so doing they were unknowingly fulfilling the prophecy in Psalm 22:18. 

NAKED ON THE CROSS

With all His clothes taken by the soldiers, Jesus was left naked on the cross.  If any clothes at all, it would be only a loin cloth.  Hanging there, the crowds stared at Him.

That brings my thought back to the Garden of Eden where Adam and Eve lived together in nakedness and unashamed.   After they sinned by eating of the forbidden fruit tree in the midst of the Garden, they became aware of their nakedness and sowed fig leaves together to cover their nakedness.

You can read the story in Genesis 3.  God found them attempting to hide from Him.  After confronting them with their sins, God killed animals, probably sheep, shedding innocent blood as a covering for their sins. Thus began the Old Testament shedding of blood for sin and it continued for 4000 years.  After the animals were slain, God took the skins and fashioned clothing to cover their nakedness.

God’s Word reveals the sinful nakedness of our hearts. But God went further than that.  In the fullness of time, He sent His Son, the Lord Jesus, to die on a cross in nakedness and shame and pay for our sins with His shed blood.  Then He took Christ’s righteousness and clothed us in it.  Today, all those whose trust is in Christ, stand covered in the robes of Christ’s righteousness.

One day sinners will stand before the Great White Throne Judgment of Christ, described in Revelation 21.  Naked in their sins, they will be cast into the eternal Lake of Fire.  Why?  Because they refused to accept by faith the robes of Christ’s righteousness.

For any sinner to attempt to refuse to trust in God’s righteousness, is  to stand  clothed in the fig leaves of  our own miserable self- righteousness, which according to Isaiah 64:6 are as filthy, stinking rags in God’s nostrils.

THE BLASPHEMOUS CROWD

 

As the crowds who had joyfully welcomed their King into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday; so now, led by the priests and the Sanhedrin who hated Jesus, they blasphemed God the Son as He hung on the cross, sneering at Him and wagging their heads back and forth in mockery.  Jesus was a big joke to them.  This was a comedy as far as they were concerned.

THE PATIENCE AND LONGSUFFERNG OF GOD

 

As we read this heart rending account of Jesus’ crucifixion, we have to be impressed with the patience and longsuffering of God as He watched them mistreat His beloved Son.

The martyred souls in Heaven cry out for vengeance and vindication, as we read in Revelation 6:9-11.   

We must  patiently endure whatever the world wants to dish out to us as Christians.   II Peter 3:9-11 speaks of the patience and long-suffering of God in this present age.   One day He will return and avenge His own and put down all rebellion by force.

CURSED BY GOD

 

Jesus was cursed by His Heavenly Father for our sins.  Paul wrote in Galatians 3:13 that Jesus was made a curse for us as He hung on the cross.

Those who reject His Son as Saviour will one day feel the wrath of God’s curse on them in Hell.  Will you receive the love of God by receiving His Son as your Saviour.  Again,  I remind you that Romans 5:8 shows us that this is the way God shows His love to us, by sending His Son, the Lord Jesus, to die in our place on the cross.  Have you received Him as your Saviour?  Will you do it right now?  Read John 1:12 and make your decision.  Receive Him or reject Him.  There are no other options.

May 22, 2010 Posted by | Passion Week | Comments Off on Crucifixion of Christ

Die sleeping

“I want to die quietly and peacefully like my grandfather, asleep. Not screaming like the passengers in his car.”

May 17, 2010 Posted by | A Merry Heart | Comments Off on Die sleeping

True humility

Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.       C.S.Lewis

May 11, 2010 Posted by | Gems | Comments Off on True humility

Feeling sorry for yourself?

 

You may  have heard of this young man. His story is amazing!  

 

The first ones show him speaking about his daily struggles with life.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0DxlJWJ_WfA

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yo_24_qTNac&feature=related

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nQPmY4nIjVE&feature=related

 

The next group show his actual back story. His birth. His parents’ reactions. His anger with God. His conversion. His daily faith walk.

 

http://www.cbn.com/media/player/index.aspx?s=/vod/KW71v1_WS

 

http://www.cbn.com/media/player/index.aspx?s=/vod/KW71INTERNET_1_WS

 

http://www.cbn.com/media/player/index.aspx?s=/vod/KW71INTERNET_2_WS

 

http://www.cbn.com/media/player/index.aspx?s=/vod/KW71INTERNET_3_WS

 

http://www.cbn.com/media/player/index.aspx?s=/vod/KW71INTERNET_4_WS

 

 

Finally I’ll include a biography:

 

 

Nicholas James Vujicic (December 1982) is a preacher, a motivational speaker and the Director of Life Without Limbs, a non-profit Christian organization. He regularly gives speeches across subject of disability and hope.

Early life

The first-born child of a Serbian family[2], Nick Vujicic was born in Melbourne, Australia with the rare Tetra-amelia disorder: limbless, missing both arms at shoulder level, and legless but with two small feet, one of which has two toes. Initially, his parents were devastated. Vujicic was otherwise healthy.

Growing up

His life was filled with difficulties and hardships. One was being prohibited by Victoria state law from attending a mainstream school because of his physical disability, even though he was not mentally impaired. During his schooling, the laws were changed, and Vujicic was one of the first disabled students to be integrated into a mainstream school.[3] He learned to write using the two toes on his left foot, and a special device that slid onto his big toe which he uses to grip. He also learned to use a computer and type using the “heel and toe” method (as demonstrated in his speeches), throw tennis balls, play drum pedals, comb his hair, brush his teeth, answer the phone, shave and get himself a glass of water (also demonstrated in speeches).

Epiphany

Being bullied at his school, Vujicic grew extremely depressed, and by the age of 8, started contemplating suicide. After begging God to grow arms and legs, Nick eventually began to realize that his accomplishments were inspirational to many, and began to thank God for being alive. [4] A key turning point in his life was when his mother showed him a newspaper article about a man dealing with a severe disability. This led him to realize he wasn’t the only one with major struggles.[5] When he was seventeen, he started to give talks at his prayer group,[6] and eventually started his non-profit organization, Life Without Limbs.

Career

Nick graduated from college at the age of 21 with a double major in Accounting and Financial Planning. He began his travels as a motivational speaker, focusing on the topics that today’s teenagers face. He also speaks in the corporate sector, although his aim is to become an international inspirational speaker, in both Christian and non-Christian venues. He regularly travels internationally to speak to Christian congregations, schools, and corporate meetings. He has spoken to over two million people so far, in twelve countries on four continents (Africa, Asia, Australia, and North America).[7]

By the age of 25, Nick hoped to become financially independent. He wishes to promote his words through television shows such as the The Oprah Winfrey Show, as well as by writing books. His first book, planned for completion by the end of 2009, is to be called No Arms, No Legs, No Worries!.[1]

His motivational DVD, Life’s Greater Purpose, is available on the Life Without Limbs website.[8]

 

Most of the DVD was filmed in 2005, featuring a brief documentary about his home life, and how he does regular things without limbs. The second part of the DVD was filmed at his local church in Brisbane, and was one of his first professional motivational speeches. His motivational speeches can be seen on the Premiere Speakers Bureau Website. Vujicic currently lives in California.

Vujicic’s first worldwide television interview, featured on 20/20 (ABC) with Bob Cummings was aired on 28 March 2008.

 

He appeared in the short film “The Butterfly Circus” which won the Doorpost Film Project’s top prize of 2009,[9] and the Best Short Film award at the Method Fest Film Festival, where Vujicic was also awarded Best Actor in a short film.

 

 

May 11, 2010 Posted by | Encouragment | Comments Off on Feeling sorry for yourself?

Lunatic or Lord!

A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a good moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic-on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg-or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronising nonsense about His being a great moral teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.
C.S. Lewis

May 11, 2010 Posted by | Gems | Comments Off on Lunatic or Lord!

How to avoid a broken heart

   

‎”Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries;… avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket–safe, dark, motionless, airless–it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. ” -C.S. Lewis, “The Four Loves”

May 11, 2010 Posted by | Gems | Comments Off on How to avoid a broken heart

Who gets the credit?

It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.-

Harry Truman

May 10, 2010 Posted by | Gems | Comments Off on Who gets the credit?

Why Go to Church?

Why Go to Church?

One Sunday morning, a mother went in to wake her son and tell him it was time to get ready for church, to which he replied, “I’m not going.” 
“Why not?” she asked.  
I’ll give you two good reasons,” he said. “(1), they don’t like me, and (2), I don’t like them.”  
His mother replied, “I’ll give you two good reasons why you SHOULD go to church: 
(1) You’re 49 years old, and (2) you’re the pastor!”
                        
  
 

 
Goat for Dinner The young couple invited their elderly pastor for Sunday dinner.  While they were in the kitchen preparing the meal, the minister asked their son what they were having. 
“Goat,” the little boy replied. 
“Goat?” replied the startled man of the cloth, “Are you sure about that?” 
“Yep,” said the youngster. “I heard Dad say to Mom, ‘Today is just as good as any to have the old goat for dinner.’ “

.


  
 
 
 

May 8, 2010 Posted by | A Merry Heart | Comments Off on Why Go to Church?

Christian Music and Unity

We are all individuals with likes and dislikes.  That’s not sinful.  It’s just a fact of life.  We enjoy being with people who think the way we do  and we all tend to avoid people who make an issue of their beliefs and preferences and try  to force them on us.  You are that way and  I am that way.

Christians are simply people with a wide variety of likes and dislikes who have been overcome by the Gospel of Christ. Genuine Christians love Jesus.  We love Him more than life itself. We love Him more than our opinions and preferences.  We long to please Him and one day be with Him in Heaven.

We not only love Jesus, but we love our brothers and sisters in Christ. As Christians with our individual and differing tastes, we are drawn together by one magnet only; our love for Jesus and His Word, the Bible.

 WHAT UNITES US?

 

 As Christians, we are commanded to be filled or controlled by the Holy Spirit, the very Spirit of Christ. Every Christian has the Holy Spirit the moment he is saved according to Romans 8:9.  It’s one thing to have the Spirit and it’s another thing to be filled or controlled by Him.  Every Christian is commanded to be filled with the Spirit according to Ephesians 5:18.   According to that same verse,  to be filled means to be controlled  just as fully as one who is drunk is controlled by wine or other alcoholic beverages.  Actually, one filled with the Spirit lives a self-controlled life. while one drunk with liquor lives an uncontrolled life.

 TEST OF BEING FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT

 

 How can we tell whether we are filled with the Spirit?  Continue reading in Ephesians 5:18-21 for the answer to this important question.

1. Christians who are filled or controlled by the Spirit, love to gather together to sing from their hearts, “Psalms, hymns of praise and spiritual songs in which we share testimonies of what Jesus means to us.  Such songs are set to melodies. Melodies are simply singable, pleasing patterns of music that fit the message of a song. A good song is one that beautifully marries the melody to the message of the song. For example,  the majestic, awesome words of Holy, Holy, Holy would not fit well to the marching music of Onward Christians Soldiers. The Christian songs we sing in private, at home or in church, are sung to the Lord. That is worship. Ephesians 5:19.

However, worship is more than singing.  Worship for the Christians begins with surrender of our lives to Christ.  One who is in rebellion to Christ cannot worship, nor will he enjoy being in a worship service. Sin must be confessed before we can worship in Spirit and in Truth, as Jesus demands in John 4.  Read the whole chapter and observe how skillfully Jesus dealt with a woman about her sin, and changed her life.  Note how He teaches her and us truths about worship.

2. Sprit-filled Christians are also overcome by continual thankfulness to God for all He has done for us in sending Jesus to die for our sins and for all He means to us as Christians.  We have thankful spirits, rather than complaining, griping spirits. according to Ephesians 5:20   Complaining, bitter, unforgiving Christians are not filled with the Spirit.  Sin must be confessed and rejected.  We must get off the throne of our life and ask Christ to be Lord of our life.  When He is Lord, the Holy Spirit is in control and we are filled with the Spirit.  This is why a Spirit filled Christian enjoys and appreciates Biblical preaching that deals with sin in his life.  When he sees the sin in his life, he can confess it and once again be restored to fellowship with Christ.

3. Spirit-filled Christians are also not only submitted to Christ; but to one another in the church.  If we get stiff-necked and bitter when we are confronted with sin in our lives, we are no longer Spirit-filled and Spirit-led.  Spirit filled Christians do not insist on having their own ways at home or in their churches.    I, as a Christian husband do not lord it over my wife; but serve her.  As pastor of my church, I do not lord it over my flock; nor do our elders and deacons.  Though we guard our flock from false teachers and sin, we are basically servants of the flock and we lead by serving  one another in love,  just as a Spirit-filled husband and wife serve one another.

If you do not pass these three Biblical tests of Ephesians 4:18-21,  please do not boast about  being filled with the Spirit.  The experience you had was merely an empty. emotional experience and nothing more.

 WHAT IS CHRISTIAN MUSIC?

 

 As for Christian music, as a 77 year old Christian who was saved as a child and spent my entire life in a wide variety of churches, let me give you my perspective on music.  As a musician, I love to play the piano and sing, Often late at night, I will play hymns and spiritual songs of testimony for thirty minutes or more in worship of God.  I have always appreciated a wide range of music; including, the wide range of Biblical hymns and Gospel songs of testimony found in many hymn books.  I probably have a range of about close to 1000 hymns and Gospel songs that I appreciate and love. There are probably another several hundred Biblical hymns written two or three centuries ago found in old hymnals that we ought to be aware of and using, although some of the music is difficult to sing. 

I also love Negro Spirituals, but appreciate them most when sung by black choirs.  I also appreciate some Southern Gospel music, and classical type choral music, such as Handel’s Messiah, a piece that can best be sung by a  trained choir.

There are also some hymns in our church hymn book of over 800 hymns that I refuse to sing.  Regardless of the Biblical message of the hymn, if the music has no sensible musical pattern and  is unsingable, I refuse to sing it. 

I love orchestral and band music and, of course, piano and organ music. Yes, I also love the use of drums used musically; not just to make a noise.

At the same time, I also have a strong aversion to being forced to listen to any so-called music that is not musical or that has a perverted Biblical message or no message at all.   I can’t bear to listen to or watch soloists who screw their faces up to try to imitate some rock star and who sing words that cannot be understood or that have little or nothing to do with Christ or Christianity.

Although much of so-called Contemporary Christian music turns me off because it is not Biblical nor musical;  I have heard some music under that classification that blesses me because it is Scripturally based and because it is truly musical and singable.

 THE BEST IS YET TO COME

 

 As I grow older I look forward to Heaven and the music of Heaven where Christ alone will be exalted and the music will beyond our wildest imagination and we will all sing together in perfect harmony and with a perfect heart. 

In the meantime, beloved Christian friend, be patient with me and I will be patient with you.   If loving Jesus and living for Him is the most important thing in your life,  we have much in common and I recognize you my beloved friend and brother or sister in the Lord.

May 8, 2010 Posted by | MUSIC | Comments Off on Christian Music and Unity

Converted Thief

The main story of the conversion of the thief on the cross is found in Luke 23:32-43.  Parts of the story are also mentioned in Matthew 27:38,44, and  Mark 15:25-28.  As you read all the passages, you get the full story.

You, no doubt, remember the story.  Jesus was crucified with two thieves: one on his left and one on His right hand.  Matthew informs us that both thieves were joining with the crowds in scorning and mocking Jesus, as all three of them were suffering and dying.  Imagine, in your dying agony, using your last ounce of strength to pour out your venom on the Holy Son of God.

Then something amazing happened to one of the thieves.  While the other continued to spew his hateful  venom on the Jesus,  the other thief became very quiet and thoughtful.  You would expect that as he approached death, that his mind would become foggy with the excruciating pain.

Instead, as he watched and listened to Jesus, his mind became crystal clear and he began to perceive truth he had never considered before.  The light of the Gospel turned on in his mind and heart.  He turned to the other dying thief and rebuked him for mocking and railing on Jesus- the same thing he had been doing a few minutes earlier.

The overpowering, sovereign miraculous work of God turned this sinner around 180 degrees in his tracks.  He turned from blaspheming God to rebuking the other thief who was continuing to blaspheme God. His attitude towards Jesus was completely, instantly changed. As Saul of Tarsus, a few months later, he turned from blaspheming God to reaching out with the Gospel to his dying  friend.

How did the repentant thief evidence a transformed heart?

Salvation is nothing short of a divine miracle and it manifests itself primarily by a changed attitude towards Jesus.  He became aware of God and feared Him.  He openly acknowledged his sinfulness and  the sinlessness of Jesus.   He spoke to the other thief.

“Don’t you fear God?”

“Don’t you realize we are getting what we deserve?”

“Don’t you see that Jesus is righteous?”

He was not primarily seeking justice or seeking for a better life of happiness and fulfillment.  He was not asking Jesus to take him off the cross. He knew he was a violator of God’s Law and deserving of judgment. His only plea was for mercy and  to be saved from Divine judgment.

In contrast, the unrepentant thief evidenced:

No fear of God,

No fear of judgment,

No sense of sinfulness,

No sense of justice,

No sense of guilt,

No desire for forgiveness,

No desire for righteousness,

No  desire for reconciliation to God.

When we evangelize the lost, we must move from lesser issues to the issue of divine judgment.  Salvation is not simply seeking a purpose in life, or seeking to be a better person.  Those are peripheral issues.   Rather, salvation is deliverance from God’s wrath, divine judgment and  Hell.  Peace with God was his primary concern.   A sinner is close to salvation when he recognizes his guilt before a holy God of wrath on his sin.

He believed Jesus was sinless. He recognized that he deserved the punishment he was getting.  He believed Jesus was hanging on the cross for sins He had never committed. He had heard Jesus ask for God to forgive those who were crucifying Him.  He knew His name was Jesus and that the name meant “He shall save His people from their sins.”

Earlier, he had heard the crowd mocking Him about rising from the dead. See Matthew 27:39-43.  He understood that when Jesus died, He would rise again; so he asked Jesus to be remembered when He entered His Kingdom.  He put his trust in Jesus as his Saviour.

The thief’s assurance of his salvation

 

The thief had no Bible to teach Him salvation or assurance.  Even if he had a Bible, in his condition on the cross, it would have been impossible to read;  so Jesus, in His kindness, gave the dying thief assurance of his salvation.  It came right from the mouth of Jesus.  “Truly, TODAY you will be with me in Paradise ( Heaven),  Luke 27:43

If you are convicted of your sins, and reach out to Jesus by faith, believing that He died and shed His blood to save you from your sins,  He will speak to you through His Word and give you  assurance of your salvation. Read it in John 3:16,  I John 5:11-13,

If you are still confused or uncertain of your standing with Jesus, go to my SALVATION link and keep reading it until the matter is settled in your heart. By God’s grace, you can go to bed tonight, knowing for certain that if you die, you will be in Heaven.

May 3, 2010 Posted by | Passion Week | Comments Off on Converted Thief

Thomas Jefferson said:

 

 The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.  

 It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes. A principle which if acted on would save one-half the wars of the world.

I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.

 My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government.  

 No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.  

The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.  

 

 The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.  

To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical. 

‘I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies.  If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around the banks will deprive the people of all property – until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered .

May 2, 2010 Posted by | America | Comments Off on Thomas Jefferson said:

Fear and Faith

“FEAR puts your circumstances between you and God, 
  FAITH puts God between you and your circumstances.”

my sister, Carolyn Sherman, shared this on Face Book

May 1, 2010 Posted by | Gems | Comments Off on Fear and Faith

Amazing Grace

Amazing Grace like you’ve never heard it  nor appreciated it before, unless you’ve seen this short video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DMF_24cQqT0

and listen to it again beautifully sung by tenors in a place where Christians were persecuted centuries ago.

http://www.clarrissegill.com/videoclips/amazing_grace.php

May 1, 2010 Posted by | Amazing Grace, MUSIC | Comments Off on Amazing Grace