“Give Us Some of Your Oil”

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I was asked to participate in a worship service that would include prayer and anointing with oil for healing. The service would occur the following Sunday. In preparation, the ministers were asked to assist the Pastor in case there were a large number of congregants that wanted prayer and anointing with oil for healing. The request brought to mind the scripture found in James 5:14 – 16 (NIV) that reads:

14 Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”

I was glad to help and knew that I should check to make sure I had my anointing oil in good supply. My thoughts were then quickly shifted when I was asked by another person if I could lend them some oil. The question of borrowing my oil brought another Biblical story and scripture to mind.

Let’s take a look at where my thoughts were riveted. Of course you guessed it; the “Parable of the Ten Bridesmaids” and preparation for service until Christ returns.

Theme: “Give us some of your Oil…”

Scripture: Matthew 25:1-13 (NIRV)

The scripture reads as follows with a short story (parable) to illustrate and teach a moral, spiritual lesson, or religious principle.

The Story of Ten Bridesmaids

25 “Here is what the kingdom of heaven will be like at that time. Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went out to meet the groom. Five of them were foolish. Five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but didn’t take any olive oil with them. The wise ones took oil in jars along with their lamps. The groom did not come for a long time. So the bridesmaids all grew tired and fell asleep.“At midnight someone cried out, ‘Here’s the groom! Come out to meet him!’ “Then all the bridesmaids woke up and got their lamps ready. The foolish ones said to the wise ones, ‘Give us some of your oil. Our lamps are going out.’“‘No,’ they replied. ‘There may not be enough for all of us. Instead, go to those who sell oil. Buy some for yourselves.’ 10 “So they went to buy the oil. But while they were on their way, the groom arrived. The bridesmaids who were ready went in with him to the wedding dinner. Then the door was shut. 11 “Later, the other bridesmaids also came. ‘Sir! Sir!’ they said. ‘Open the door for us!’ 12 “But he replied, ‘What I’m about to tell you is true. I don’t know you.’13 “So keep watch. You do not know the day or the hour that the groom will come. 

I believe a great interpretation of the Matthew 23:1-13 scripture is as follows and referenced below. A portion of that interpretation reads as follows:

The five bridesmaids who have the extra oil represent the truly born again who are looking with eagerness to the coming of Christ. They have saving faith and have determined that, whatever occurs, be it lengthy time or adverse circumstances, when Jesus returns, they will be looking with eagerness. The five virgins without the oil represent false believers who enjoy the benefits of the Christian community without true love for Christ. They are more concerned about the party than about longing to see the bridegroom. Their hope is that their association with true believers (“give us some of your oil” of verse 8) will bring them into the kingdom at the end. This, of course, is never the case. One person’s faith in Jesus cannot save another.

So, I am certainly not saying that the person who asked to borrow anointing oil from me is not a true believer, but their question to me was an excellent lesson for me. Everyone should be prepared to serve God in the capacity for which they have been called into service.

Amen.

*Ref: http://www.gotquestions.org/parable-ten-virgins.html

“I’m Just Saying…”

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Listening to the news media is just one shock after another. It is a shock for two reasons. One reason is that what is being communicated is unbelievable and the second reason is that what is being communicated is validated in the Holy Bible, book of Luke and Revelations.

Many people say, “We are in the Last Days”. But, when you think about it, we have been in the last days since Jesus ascended to Heaven. Each day since Jesus’ life on planet Earth and His departure to Heaven occurred, we have been living in the last days and in the dispensation of grace. So, why am I bothered by the news media when the Bible has already described what will happen?

Let’s take a look at the news media reporting of happening events and the book of Luke and Revelations reporting of events that would happen, because “I’m Just Saying…”.

Theme: “I’m Just Saying…”

Read Scripture: Luke 21 whole chapter with focus on verses 10 – 11:

and as listed below in Revelations chapter 6

Luke 21:10-11 says, “Then He [Jesus] continued by saying to them, “Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be great earthquakes, and in various places plagues and famines; and there will be terrors and great signs from heaven.

The Apostle Luke is the author of Luke (and Acts). Luke was a physician. He met Paul and joined Paul and Silas in their missionary journeys and chronicled the early church and travels of Paul in the book of Acts. He was not one of the Apostles of Christ, but a Gentile Christian from Macedonia. The book was written around AD 60.

The Apostle John is the author of the Book of Revelation. He wrote it when he was about 92 years old, while a prisoner of Rome on the remote desert penal colony of Patmos, an island in the Aegean Sea. Patmos was a quarry mine for the Roman Empire, and was home to many political and religious prisoners or slaves. John, the beloved apostle of Jesus, was being held as a prisoner of Rome on this island for his incessant preaching about Jesus. Rome believed that banishing the old man John to the remote and forsaken island of Patmos, that his voice would be quieted. John was aged in years, and close to the end of his life, probably sent to Patmos in the year 95 by the Roman emperor Domitian, who was reportedly angry at the fact that John was not killed when he was dipped in boiling oil.*

Since John was a contemporary of Jesus, John would have been by that time, well over 90 years old – making him very likely the only apostle to survive to such an old age. The rest of Jesus apostles and disciples were martyred decades earlier. It was as if God supernaturally preserved John to bare record of The Revelation!*

Luke 21:10-11 combined with John’s revelation or better said, God’s revelation to John detailed in Revelations chapter 6, along with the news media reports give us a shocking realization.

Luke 21:10-11: Jesus speaking to the Disciples says:

10… “Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom, 11and there will be great earthquakes, and in various places plagues and famines; and there will be terrors and great signs from heaven.”

Revelation 6: Apostle John writes of his vision of the End Times or Last Days saying there will be:

Wars: verses 1 and 2

International Strife: verse 3 and 4

Famine: verses 5 and 6

Pestilence: verses 7 and 8

Persecution: verses 9 and 10

Earthquakes: verses 12 – 17

Judgement and Destruction: verses 12 – 17

So, just watch the news and you connect the dots. Are we in the Last Days? I’m just saying…

Amen.

*Ref: http://www.bibleprobe.com/revelation.htm

“When God Asks A Question”

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I am always amazed, cautious, and curious when reading the Holy Bible and God asks a question. God is omniscient, all-knowing! So, when God asks a question it is not to obtain knowledge, information, or an answer that He doesn’t already know. The question is rhetorical for God, but it is instructive for the person being questioned.

God’s questions bring deep reflective thought, conviction about a truth, an opportunity to confess, and/or submit to God’s Sovereignty. God’s questions generally begin with “Who? Where? When? Have you? Can you? Do you know?”

What are some of the Old Testament questions God asked? Let’s take a look at the importance of “When God Asks A Question”.

Theme: “When God Asks A Question”

Read Scripture: as listed…

In the Old Testament:

The first question God asks in the Bible is “Where are you?”

Adam and Eve had just sinned, and in their fear and confusion they ran away from God. In Genesis 3:9, we read that “The Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?”

In response to God’s question, Adam said, “I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself” (Genesis 3:10). Then God asked, “Who told you that you were naked?”

After that first act of disobedience in the garden of Eden, God asked Eve, “What is this you have done?” (Genesis 3:13, NKJV).

Adam is not the only runaway mentioned in the Bible. God always seems to ask the runaways why they are running. He said to Hagar, Sarah’s maid, “From where have you come, and where are you going?” (Genesis 16:8)

God spoke to Abraham after Sarah laughed about the pronouncement that she would have a baby. God said, “Is anything too difficult for the Lord? (Genesis 18:14a)

A man (God in angelic or human form) wrestled with Jacob. After the wrestling match the question was asked to Jacob, “What is your name?” (Genesis 32:27a)

Another Bible hero who was caught in the wrong place at the wrong time was the prophet Elijah. He was hiding in a cave on Mt. Horeb when the word of the Lord came to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” (1 Kings 19:9).

God asked Job several questions in Job 38:1-8, but the most memorable is “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?” (Job 38:4a).

These eight questions indicate your self-identification; they reveal your relationship with God; and whether you trust, believe and submit to God’s authority. How would you have answered in each of the eight circumstances?

In the New Testament, the one key question God the Son, Jesus, asks that we must ponder is found in Luke 9:20. Jesus was talking with his disciples. Jesus asked the disciples, “who do people say I am”. Then Jesus asked his disciples, “But who do you say that I am?” And Peter answered and said, “The Christ of God.”

Peter answered correctly. Jesus is the anointed Son of God. Each of us must answer that question for ourselves. What is your answer to Jesus’ question?

Amen.

Ref: http://www.biblehub.com; http://www.beliefnet.com; http://www.amazingfacts.org

“The Baby Dedication”

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I recently participated in a Baby Dedication. The dedication of babies to the Lord is not a new trend but has origins in the Bible. The idea of dedicating a child to the Lord can certainly be found in the Bible with Hannah, mother of Samuel; Manoah and his wife, who were parents of Samson, and Mary and Joseph, wherein Mary was the mother of Jesus.

Hannah was a barren wife who promised to dedicate her child to God if He would give her a son. When her son Samuel was born, after he was weaned, she took Samuel to the temple for dedication to the Lord (see 1 Samuel 1:11, 27-28).

Manoah and his wife in the book of Judges (chapter 13) were visited by an angel and given instructions to dedicate their son to be a Nazarite (an Israelite consecrated/dedicated to the service of God). Their son, Samson, was dedicated to the Lord while he was still in the womb.

Luke 2:22 begins the account of Mary and Joseph taking Jesus to the temple after forty days in order to dedicate Him to the Lord. At the dedication of Jesus in the temple, Simeon and Anna, through the leading of the Holy Spirit proclaimed Jesus as the Messiah. This indicates that even babies have a purpose and plan in God. This purpose and plan is identified through dedication of a baby to the Lord and confirmation through God’s providence.

So, let’s take a look at the importance of “The Baby Dedication”.

Theme: “The Baby Dedication”

Read Scripture: Matthew 19: 13-15 NIV reads,

13 Then people brought little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked them.14 Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” 15 When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there.”

The Bible records that Jesus interacted with children. Jesus treated the children with kindness and love, therefore showing how much He values them.

The account of Jesus interacting with children is found in Mathew 19:13-15 and Mark 10: 13-16 as it reads, “People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.’ . . . And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them” (Mark 10: 13–14, 16). Here Jesus not only welcomes the children into His presence but also blesses each one individually.

Jesus loved children and spent time with them. Jesus was concerned about their well-being and salvation. He didn’t restrict belief in Him to adults. Jesus knew that children had a faith that was not complicated and laden with analysis, rationale, and excuses. Their faith was pure and unencumbered. For this reason Jesus rebuked the disciples that tried to deny the little children from the presence and blessings of Jesus.

So, don’t neglect taking your children into the presence of Jesus. Don’t deny them opportunities for blessings and salvation. God’s Word in Proverbs 22:6 say, “Bring up a child by teaching him the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn away from it.” Matthew 18:6, then goes on to give a warning that once a child believes in the Lord, whoever causes one of these children who believe in Jesus to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. So, we can see that the blessing and salvation of children was a serious matter in the past, in the present, and will be in the future.

It is a blessing to begin a baby’s life by dedicating him or her to the Lord!

Dedicating a baby to the Lord puts him or her in good standing in Christ along with Samuel, a priest and ruler over the affairs of God’s people; Samson, a man of faith empowered with supernatural strength to deliver God’s people from their enemies; and lastly, Jesus the Christ, the Savior of the world.

Amen.

“What is Truth…continued?”

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Let’s review and continue from the previous blog; now when Jesus was arrested he was questioned by Pontius Pilate. During the questioning Pilate asked, “What is truth?” This same question resounds today as people begin to seek truth, develop, discover, invent it, and find it in sources other than the Holy Bible. Although, seeking truth in various sources is good intentioned; genuine truth cannot be found in any source except the Holy Bible – the inspired Word of God.

There are numerous historical writings from biblical antiquity, but they are for historical accounting not for practical living or worship. We don’t worship history. We worship the one and only True God, which is “God the Father”, “God the Son –Jesus”, and “God the Holy Spirit”.

Let’s “continue” to examine the reason behind the resurgence of asking the question, “What is truth?”

Theme: “What is Truth…continued?”

Read Scripture: John 18:37-38 KJV

37 Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice. 38 Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and saith unto them, I find in him no fault at all.

The truth of the Holy Bible is being challenged because people, just like Pilate seek to create, invent, discover, and find fault in the Holy Scripture. People seek to create their own truth. This is called “Moral Relativism”. The tenets of moral relativism are that there is no such thing as truth. Absolute truth does not exist. Everything is situational and circumstantial. Truth is discovered based on the present situation or circumstance. So, that what is true today, may not be true tomorrow. Each person can define his or her own truth.

Moral relativism is plainly described as the “have it your way – Burger King” truth. It is a way to not be held accountable for anything, because everything is subjective. The truth depends on who is telling it or living it. What a sad state of affairs to live a life where no absolutes exist. But, the Holy Bible (2 Timothy 4:3 NIRV) warns, “The time will come when people won’t put up with true teaching. Instead, they will try to satisfy their own desires. They will gather a large number of teachers around them. The teachers will say what the people want to hear.”

So, be aware, leery, and suspicious of claims of people, books, or sources that declare they have or contain hidden or secret information that discredits Jesus and/or the Holy Bible. Remember, Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” The Bible has not changed based on situations and circumstances. Its message has stood the test of time and its oldest writings if you go by when the Bible was first started to be written, the Bible is over 3,400 years old.

Lastly, remember Pilate in Luke 23:4 (KJV) concluded his questioning which examined Jesus by saying to the chief priests and people, “I find no fault in Him”. And neither should you.

Don’t get led astray.

Amen

“What is Truth?”

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When Jesus was arrested he was questioned by Pontius Pilate. During the questioning Pilate asked, “What is truth?” This same question resounds today as people begin to seek truth, develop, discover, invent it, and find it in sources other than the Holy Bible. Although, seeking truth in various sources is good intentioned; genuine truth cannot be found in any source except the Holy Bible – the inspired Word of God. It is “sola scriptura”.

Sola scriptura (Ablative Latin -“by Scripture alone”) is the Christian doctrine that the Bible is the supreme authority in all matters of doctrine and practice.

Let’s examine the reason behind the resurgence of asking the question, “What is truth?”

Theme: “What is Truth?”

Read Scripture: John 18:37-38 KJV

37 Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice. 38 Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and saith unto them, I find in him no fault at all.

The truth of the Holy Bible is being challenged because people, just like Pilate are what the Bible refers to as “scoffers”. They seek to create their own truth. The word translated “scoffer” in English can mean “one who mocks, ridicules, or scorns the belief of another.” In Hebrew, the word translated “scoffer” or “mocker” can also mean “ambassador.” So a scoffer is one who not only disagrees with an idea, but he also considers himself an ambassador for the opposing idea. He cannot rest until he has demonstrated the foolishness of any idea that is not his own. A scoffer voices his disagreement, ridicules all who stand against him, and actively recruits others to join his side.

Psalm 1:1 gives us clear instruction about how to deal with scoffers: “How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers” (NASB). The progression of unbelief begins with listening to ungodly counsel and ends with joining the scoffers. Second Peter 3:3 warns us that “in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires” (cf. Jude 1:18). We know from Scripture that scoffing will only increase as we near the time for Jesus’ return (2 Timothy 3:1-5).

Scoffers have always been and will always be present in the world. But there is coming a promised day when “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:10–11). On that day there will no longer be any scoffers. They will at last accept the truth, and their scoffing will be forever silenced. So, don’t allow the scoffers to discourage your faith.

Amen.

Ref: http://www.gotquestions.org/Bible-scoffers.htm
cf.–compare or make comparison
Ablative – drawn from or relating to

“Please and Thank You”

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King David had many experiences in his lifetime. Some were glorious and others were disastrous. But in his lifetime he honored God with song (Psalm) that exalted God for His goodness, faithfulness, love, grace and mercy. King David was known as a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22) because of his heart of genuine repentance when he sinned.

King David pleaded with God for forgiveness and was very thankful that God heard his cries and gave him solace in times of trouble. So, although King David is not necessarily a model of behavior in many areas; there is something we can learn from him about making requests to God. Requests that are highlighted with “please” expressions of sincerity, and remembering to complete those requests to God with praises of “thank you”. Let’s focus our thoughts on: “Please and Thank You”.

Theme: “Please and Thank You”

Read Scripture: Psalm 138 (MSG)

King David says in Psalm 138,

1-3 Thank you! Everything in me says “Thank you!” Angels listen as I sing my thanks. I kneel in worship facing your holy temple and say it again: “Thank you!” Thank you for your love, thank you for your faithfulness; Most holy is your name, most holy is your Word. The moment I called out, you stepped in; you made my life large with strength.

4-6 When they hear what you have to say, God, all earth’s kings will say “Thank you.” They’ll sing of what you’ve done: “How great the glory of God!” And here’s why: God, high above, sees far below; no matter the distance, he knows everything about us.

7-8 When I walk into the thick of trouble, keep me alive in the angry turmoil. With one hand strike my foes, With your other hand save me. Finish what you started in me, God. Your love is eternal—don’t quit on me now.

Psalm 138 as read in the Message Bible method emphasizes in its expression of scripture a focus that connects with people and interprets God’s Word at the same time. So, it is used in this blog article to make a point. The point is King David’s surrender to God and pleasure in God’s attention to him and answering his need for both love and rescue. King David expresses an atmosphere of both please and thank you.

Today, the word “Please” gets its credited origin from the English. The word “please” is short for “if you please,”  or “if it pleases you to do this”. Its literal meaning is that “you are under no obligation to do this.” The word phrase, “Thank You” in English derives from “think”. It took on the meaning, “I will remember what you did for me” or “I am much obliged; I am in your debt.”

The meaning of “Please and Thank You” in today’s language and culture demonstrates that its’ meaning originates and spans across time, language, and cultural courtesies. King David sincerely realized and expressed his gratitude to God and his indebtedness to God. It was more than a courtesy. It was an obligation to acknowledge God as the giver of all good gifts and He is to be praised, worshipped, exalted and acknowledged for such. May we do likewise.

Amen!