Friday, 8/23/19 – Tough Question – Why those plagues?

Why were the plagues upon Egypt chosen?

I must admit this is a question which I had never before considered. But, God being God, it is unlikely that the plagues He chose to send upon Egypt in efforts to break Pharaoh and cause him to allow the Hebrews to leave were chosen at random. Indeed, a deeper look at the ten plagues reveals much more…

closeup photography of green grasshopper

First, the very fact that there were ten of them is significant. Ten, in scripture, represents fullness and completeness. As we will see, the ten plagues demonstrated to the Egyptians God’s complete authority over the false ‘gods’ of Egypt. And just as God judged Pharaoh, his people and their gods with ten plagues, so He soon after gives His own people the Ten Commandments which if broken incur His judgement upon them as well.

The Egyptians had many false gods. The ten plagues as we will see were a direct demonstration of God’s power over their imagined ‘gods’ of the land.

1. The Nile becomes blood (Ex. 7:14-25). ‘Isis’ was the Egyptian god of the Nile, ‘Khnum’ was the guardian of the Nile, and ‘Hapi’ was a water bearing God of the Nile. (Water is the most essential element needed for life.)

20190822_0904502. The plague of frogs (Ex. 8:1-5). ‘Heket,’ or ‘Heget’ was the Egyptian god of fertility and renewal and had the head of a frog.

3. The plague of gnats (Ex. 8:16-19). The Egyptian god ‘Geb,’ was the god the dust of the earth; ‘Set’ was god of the desert.

20190822_0905164. The plague of flies (Ex. 8:20-32). ‘Re’ was the sun god. ‘Khepri’ was a god with the head of a fly. ‘Uatchit’ may also have been a god represented by the fly.

5. The death of livestock (Ex. 9:1-7). ‘Hathor,’ goddess of love and protection, had the head of a cow. ‘Apis’ was the bull god.

20190822_0905446. The plague of boils (Ex. 9:8-12). ‘Isis’ was considered a goddess of medicine and peace. ‘Sekmet’ was believed by the Egyptians to be a goddess with power over disease. ‘Sunu’ a god of pestilence.

7. The plague of hail (Ex. 9:13-35). ‘Nut’ was the goddess of the sky. ‘Set’ was the god of storms.

8. The plague of locusts (Ex. 10:1-20). ‘Osiris’ was god of the crops. ‘Seth’ was an Egyptian god of storms and disorder. (The locusts came like a dark cloud in the skies and created a havoc worse than any Hitchcock film!)

20190822_0906099. The plague of darkness (Ex. 10:21-29). ‘Ra’ and ‘Horus’ were Egyptian sun gods and ‘Hathor’ was a goddess of the sky.

10. The death of the firstborn (Ex. 11:1-12:30). ‘Min’ was believed a god of reproduction and ‘Isis’ also a protector of children. Through this final plague the Passover was also instituted foreshadowing the sacrificial Lamb of God Who would deliver His children from eternal destruction.

Through all these plagues Jehovah God demonstrated His ultimate authority over all man-made idols and so-called ‘gods,’ over Pharaoh (also considered a god), over nature, and over sin. Ultimately we must all bow to Him. – Have you?

“It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” (Heb. 10:31)

Press on…

Got a question? Use the Contact page and send it to me. We’ll search the Word for God’s answer.

Friday, 8/16/19 – Tough Question – Why Sunday?

Why do Christians worship on Sunday?

grayscale photo of people raising their hands

Well, not all do. The Seventh-day Adventists, as their name suggests, gather together on the Biblical “seventh day,” which is indeed the Sabbath – the Old Testament “day of rest.”

It’s beginnings date back to creation itself. In Genesis 1 we read how God first speaks into being light, then substance and land, sun, moon, stars, sea creatures, flying beings, and land animals. Finally, on the sixth day, God makes man… in His own image… and all things He calls “good.”

Then, in chapter 2 we read,

“By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.” (Gen. 2:2-3).

This becomes a template for human behavior, a tenet of the foundational Ten Commandments:

green trees under gray mountain

Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. (Exod. 20:8-11).

Sabbath day observance continued amongst the Jews right up to the time of Christ. In fact, Jesus Himself regularly attended the synagogue on the Sabbath. “He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom.” (Luke 4:16). He even chose the Sabbath day to announce the start of His earthly ministry (see Luke 4:16-30).

shallow focus photography of corn field

But the Jews accused Jesus of ‘transgressing’ the Sabbath by ‘working’ on the holy day: plucking corn, teaching, healing the sick… In response Jesus announced “I tell you that something greater than the temple is here… For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.” (Matt. 12:6, 8)

Jesus did His greatest work of all, rising from the grave, on the day following the Sabbath, on the first day of the week, Sunday. In doing so He defeated death, and ensured the triumphant resurrection of all believers. He fulfilled all the Law and brought the dawn of the Age of Grace. New wineskins, if you will (see Matt. 9:17).

big ben

At first the early church met daily in homes. As the church grew some sort of structure became necessary, that everything be done “decently and in order” Through the epistles we see the emergence of leadership structure, care for widows, basic creeds to distinguish truth from heresy, ordinances of baptism and the Lords Supper, plus the collection of tithes and offerings, etc. We soon see the early church beginning to meet together on “the first day of the week”…

Luke records, “On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread…” (Acts 20:7), and Paul writes to the Corinthians, “Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I directed the churches of Galatia, so do you also. On the first day of every week each one of you is to put aside and save, as he may prosper, so that no collections be made when I come.” (1 Cor. 16:1-2).

Interestingly the exiled Apostle John also received the great revelation of God on the first day of the week, now known as “the Lord’s day.” He records, “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day…” (Rev. 1:10).

appointment black calendar countdown

Moving from the Sabbath (Saturday) to the Lord’s day (Sunday) also helped to further distinguish the followers of Jesus from the followers of Judaism, i.e. those who now lived by faith in Christ from those who rejected Him as Messiah and continued in the way of legalism. Perhaps too this allowed some believers to still attend the synagogue on the Sabbath and possibly reach out to the legalists.

Finally, it is important that believers in Christ do not become contentious over this topic. Scripture clearly directs us,

One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord… Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another.” (Rom. 14:5-6,13)

Press on!

Got a question? Use the Contact page and send It to me. We’ll search the Word for God’s answer.

Friday, 8/9/19 – Tough Question

Can fallen angels be redeemed?

20190806_055646The story is told of famous comedian of yesteryear W.C. Fields (1880-1946) who though never a religious man was found more than once in his letter years thumbing through his Bible. This being quite uncharacteristic of him a friend once asked Fields what he was doing. Fields witty yet poignant reply, “Looking for loopholes, my friend. Looking for loopholes.”

But of course there are no loopholes. Scripture is clear: “Each person is destined to die once and after that comes judgment” (Heb. 9:27 – NLT) Very dire news indeed! But the gospel message is also clear: “For this is how God loved the world: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.” (John 3:16-17 – NLT).

planet earth

And as Paul writes, “This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: ‘Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners…’” (1 Tim. 1:15). Christ is mankind’s only Saviour: “There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12). Apart from Christ, “there is no longer any sacrifice…There is only the terrible expectation of God’s judgment and the raging fire that will consume his enemies.” (Hen. 10:26-27 – NLT).

Fallen angels cannot be redeemed simply because they have no Redeemer. “God so loved the world that he sent His Son”…. i.e. God acted to extend grace to mankind, not angelkind. Fallen angels have no Saviour, thus no means of atonement, no conviction of the Holy Spirit, no age of Grace in which to repent and no hope of an eternal kingdom for their rebellion took place within that realm.

20190806_060816In Hebrews we read “If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God” (Heb 10:26-27).

The heavenly host had always full knowledge of the truth, for they had their existence in the presence of it. For them there is no sacrifice for their rebellion. They bear the full guilt of it. Now this “fearful expectation” is theirs and it drives their ever more frantic activity as we near the end of this age.

Against this fact how precious indeed it is that in our case “The Lord … is patient… not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9).

In Revelation 2 we read of God’s message to the church in Thyatira. God noted their several good qualities but also pointed out to them one glaring error: they were allowing a woman among their numbers to lead other members into deep sin. “You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophet. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols.” (Rev. 2:20).

accuracy alarm clock analogue business

“I have given her time to repent of her immorality,” the message continues, “but she is unwilling. So I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways. I will strike her children dead…” (v.21-23a)

At present God has given us a time to repent. “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever” (Gen. 6:3). “Now is the day of salvation,” warns scripture (2 Cor. 6:2). “…do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?” (Rom. 2:4). “…We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God,” pleads Paul (2 Cor. 5:20).

Soon that time to repent will be over for mankind, and there are no “loopholes.”

Surrender to Christ today… and then,

Press on…

Want to talk further about this surrender? Use the Contact page.

Friday, 8/2/19 – Tough Question

Loving God ? <-–> Eternal Hell ?

“How can a loving God send people to an eternal Hell?”

This true tenet of scripture has brought hesitation to multiple believers, agnostics, and sceptics alike. The teaching seems to equate God to the level of a rodent that eats its young! How are we to understand this?

asphalt dark dawn endless

We should not be afraid of this question. After all, Truth can take care of itself, as Mark Twain observed: “Truth is tough. It will not break, like a bubble, at a touch; nay, you may kick it about all day, like a football, and it will be round and full at evening.”

But we ought not measure the love of God on the basis of sinful men spending eternity in Hell, but by the Sacrifice He gave to keep lost souls from it! The fact is, sinful mankind is “hell-bent” on journeying toward Hell. God has intervened, built a road for us to turn to, erected the signs for safety and security along the way, but as say the scriptures, “Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.” (John 3:19).

animal eyes head green

Sin-lovers simply do not want to surrender their sin, so they huddle together to create and sustain a new paradigm, a way of thinking that allows their sin and accuses God. It was this way from the beginning, for all human nature is the same. Adam blamed God for Eve: “The woman You put here… she gave me some fruit…” Eve blamed God for the serpent… “The serpent deceived me…” We all blame God for the tree! “Why did God even allow the possibility of sin?” But without the possibility of rebellion there can be no possibility of free will.

All around them in the garden the principle of sowing and reaping was demonstrated. All around us we see the consequences of other’s sins yet insist in our own case the outcome will be different. It will not.

mountains nature arrow guide

We must own our rebellion and submit to the only One Who can lead us away from Hell. He cannot help us if we will not change highways.

Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve,” Joshua challenged. (Josh. 24:15). But know this, the one you choose will be your master. The road you choose will lead only to that roads destination.

God is not sending you on that road. You have chosen it. God, this loving God, shouts at you yet to turn around… turn around…

“There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done’ and those to whom God says, in the end, ‘Thy will be done.’ All that are in Hell choose it.” – CS Lewis, The Great Divorce

Press on… God’s way…

Friday, 7/26/19 – Tough Question

How do my trials bring glory to God?

20190725_173628.pngJust outside of Fredericton is the New Brunswick International Speedway, known also as Speedway 660. The quarter-mile track boasts itself “Canada’s Fastest Short Track.” Folk flood to it every summer for the fast fun and famous french-fries.

20190725_173848I attended a race there’s few years back which remains one of the most exciting competitions I have ever witnessed. I don’t remember the driver’s name, car number, or the type of vehicles vying, but I do remember the manner in which the race unfolded.

Everyone was cheering for the preferred front runner, we’ll call him Joe… Joe Fastguy. Joe had won countless previous races leaving his competitors quite literally far behind and ‘eating his dust.’ This race was expected to be no exception. And it wasn’t, at first.

20190725_173723Joe Fastguy bolted ahead right from the get-go. In no time he was several car lengths ahead then several laps. The outcome seemed a done deal as Joe Fastguy was now three whole laps ahead of the pack and the announcer focused on who might come in second.

20190725_173918But then, something happened… I’m not a car guy but it was obvious something had gone terribly, terribly wrong! There had been a “B A N G” and Joe Fastguy’s car slowed instantly to a crawl. Smoke billowed from the car and mixed with its warped hood to block Joe’s view. Whatever it was that caused the explosion, the force of the blast had blown one of Joe’s rear tires right off the vehicle! Scraping could be heard and sparks flashed from the wheel rim as it dragged along the track. — But Joe pushed on.

“O what a bad stroke of luck for Joe Fastguy,” said the announcer. “Looks like this time he won’t be Number One.”

20190725_173745There were four laps left in the race, but still Joe prodded on. By the time the pack had completed one of those final four Joe had gotten in only a quarter lap! By the time they completed another he had barely got half way round. By the second last lap for the pack Joe’s car, which once had that three lap lead, was about a third lap from the finish. But the #2 car was zooming in with just 2/3rds a lap to the flag.

The fans were now back cheering Joe on as he turtle limped to the line and his competition raged in like an angry rabbit. But Joe won! The crowd went wild, popcorn and french-fries flew through the stands as most everyone leapt to their feet! It was a great and glorious triumph indeed!

20190725_173817You see, many drivers would have just given up after that initial explosion. But not Joe. Chance had dealt him a tough card but Joe determined to play his game to the end. Joe was not a quitter and all the more attention to this fact had been drawn to Joe because of how he reacted, persevered and triumphed when things went terribly, terribly wrong.

When we do the same in those times the Lord allows trials into our tracks, we bring glory to Him because only in these moments can His true Strength be made known.

The choice of response is ours.

“For you have been given not only the privilege of trusting in Christ but also the privilege of suffering for him.” (Phil. 1:29)

Press on…

Note: Photos are not of the race described.

Got a question? Use the Contact page and send It to me. We’ll search the Word for God’s answer.

Friday, 7/19/19 – Tough Question

Why doesn’t God answer my questions?

ask blackboard chalk board chalkboard

You are not alone in wondering this. In fact, most of the possible explanations can be found as we study the unanswered questions Jesus was asked when He walked among us.

Some of our questions are unanswered because…

The answer is none of our business!
“Lord, what about him?” (John 21:21)
“The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us…” (Deut. 29:29).

black and white business career close up

They are the wrong question.
Now then, at the resurrection, whose wife will she be of the seven, since all of them were married to her?
(Matt. 22:28 – also Mark 12:23, Luke 20:33)
Who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” (John 9:2)

They are asked with impure motives.
Prophesy to us, Christ. Who hit you?” (Matt. 26:68 – also Luke 22:64)

They are pointless or illogical!
Can God make a mountain so big he cannot pick it up?

sunset love lake resort

The one asking does not have the indwelling Spirit to illuminate their heart and mind to the Truth.
The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Cor. 2:14)

The asker is spiritually immature.
Jesus once acknowledged: “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear.” (John 16:12).
And Paul blatantly stated: “I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready.” (1 Cor. 3:2).

Some things we do not understand simply because we are lazy!
We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food!” (Heb. 5:11-12).

monopoly car piece

Some things God does not explain because their time has not yet come.
But you, Daniel, roll up and seal the words of the scroll until the time of the end.” (Dan. 12:4)

Some questions are based on a lie or a misunderstanding.
You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (John 4:9)
Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6).

The answers to some questions are not intellectual (mind-based), but relational (heart-based).
How can someone be born when they are old?… Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!” (John 3:4).

We have limited perception
How can you say that we shall be set free?” (John 8:33)
“Lord, why can’t I follow you now?” (John 13:37).

close up photography of a man holding ppen

We have limited comprehension…
He replied, ‘Why do you ask my name? It is beyond understanding.’” (Judges 13:18)

Let me challenge you to look up all of these references in their broader context and where it is recorded discover what the Lord’s reply to them is in each case. If you have a question that God is not answering, know for certain that there is a very good reason why this is so.

Press on…

Got a question? Use the Contact page and send It to me. We’ll search the Word for God’s answer.

Friday, 7/12/19 – Tough Question

Are the four gospels contradictory?

The gospels are the first four books of the New Testament: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Each is the author’s personal account of the life of Jesus Christ.

20190711_072915Matthew comes from a strong Jewish perspective. His account contains many references to the Old Testament prophets regarding the coming Messiah as he shows their fulfillment in Christ. Being a tax collector, his account also contains more on Jesus’ teaching and events related to money.20190711_072844

Mark writes in short, to the point statements and often omits details found in other gospels. His is the shortest of the gospel narratives.

20190711_072756Luke was a physician and historian. His gospel is well researched and often reflects a deeper medical knowledge when he describes some of Christ’s miraculous healings and His sufferings. Luke also wrote the book of Acts documenting the immediate early history of the Church, the events immediately following the resurrection and ascension of Christ.

These first three accounts are sometimes referred to as the ‘synoptic’ gospels, for they each provide a ‘synopsis,’ or summary, of Jesus’ life.

20190711_072716John’s gospel is unique. Just read the opening few verses and you will see. Of the twelve, John was perhaps the closest to Christ. He often referred to himself as ‘the beloved disciple.’ His is a crafted gospel, a gospel of love. Each chapter of John portrays Christ in some unique way, e.g. the Word (ch. 1), the Bread of life (ch. 6), the Good Shepherd (ch. 10), the True Vine (ch. 15), etc… John also wrote 1st, 2nd 3rd John, and the book of Revelation.

Each gospel is different in some ways simply because of the authors’ differing perspectives. They are not contradictory, just different. Consider for example the following…

Here is a picture of the Peanuts gang. Look at it, then answer the questions…

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1. Is Woodstock above or between Franklin and Lucy?
2. Is Linus carrying Charlie Brown or is Peppermint Patty?
3. Is Linus beside Lucy, or beside Peppermint Patty?
4. Is Snoopy above Lucy or is Lucy below Snoopy?

Well, you get the idea.

Perhaps another function of having four Biblical accounts is to help us learn patience as we live among our brothers and sisters in Christ. Each of us is different. We know and experience Christ in varying ways. As long as our walks agree with the whole counsel of scripture we must learn to harmonize together as the complete Body of Christ. As Paul wrote, “so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other.” (1 Cor. 12:25).

Press on…

Got a question? Use the Contact page and send It to me. We’ll search the Word for God’s answer.