and mighty lessons spring from what many may see as strange and
perplexing events in the Old Testament. Such is the case of the
patriarch Jacob wrestling all night with an angel as recorded in
In context, Jacob was returning from Padam-aram (modern Iraq) with his wives, children, livestock, and substance to his parental homeland. He was under a death threat from his brother, Esau who sold Jacob his birthright, but was extremely angered when Jacob engaged in trickery to actually obtain it. News had come to Jacob that Esau was coming with hundreds of armed men, so he assumed the worst and implemented a cunning plan of appeasement to preserve life and achieve peace.
Moreover, in the long night before meeting his brother, Jacob is said to have wrestled with an angel until the dawning of day. Refusing to release hold on the angel until he should be blessed, Jacob was given his blessing, and with it a change of name to “Israel.”
“Israel” is a composite of two words: “Sara(h)” “prince(ss), royalty, possessor of power” and “El” “God”; hence, one who has power with God and prevails. This new word became the name of the patriarch from that day forward. Moreover, that name was transferred to the aggregate of his offspring, the Hebrew people who were the Old Testament people of covenant with God, and through Whose power they prevailed often against impossible odds. They had a real advantage (inside track) with God, But it was not after the flesh, but of God’s choosing.
Today, the homeland of the Jewish people is referred to as Israel, but what made that name significant, the presence and power of God, was withdrawn upon their final rejection of their Messiah Who said of them, ”Behold, your house is left unto you desolate…” Luke 13:35.
Jesus had come not only to pay the sin penalty for mankind, which men could not pay, but to bring His covenant people out from under the dispensation of law into the marvelous New Covenant of Grace. A remnant did so follow the Lord, and He also graciously incorporated the nations of all who would believe and follow Him. Hence, the beloved apostle Paul tells us that the true church of the Lord Jesus Christ is “the Israel of God.” Galatians 6:16. So long as the grace of God is extended in this dispensation of time called “today,” men have the blessed privilege of being a part of that Israel, “One who has power with God and prevails, even His people of the New Covenant.” Do you have an obedient and talking relationship with God? It really is an advantage of blessings both in time and in eternity!
Tag Archives: life
and mighty lessons spring from what many may see as strange and
perplexing events in the Old Testament. Such is the case of the
patriarch Jacob wrestling all night with an angel as recorded in
MARCH 13 – Get Your House in Order
2Ki 20:1 In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death. And the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz came to him, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Set thine house in order; for thou shalt die, and not live.
How often do we think of death and dying? Dying is not a favorite subject. Dying means not spending time with children and grandchildren. Dying means missing the pleasures of this world. My wife, born in southern Arkansas, raised in southern Arkansas, had no trouble moving north when I was called to pastor in the north except for one thing; the children were going to be over 700 miles away. That would be a drive of 11 hours to see children and grandchildren and now great-grandchildren. We want to live to be with our family. We want to live to enjoy the Razorbacks. Win or lose, this team and the Texas Teams and the Oklahoma teams are loved and watched. Let us not leave out hunting. I know Arkansas shuts down the first day of deer season.
Life and living have us under a grip. I know we say we are prepared to die but the question is there and seldom thought about, is your house in order? Have you studied as you should have? Have you lived as you should have? Have you witnessed as you should have? Have you worshiped as you should have? Have you been as faithful in the house of God as you should have? Have you compromised truth? Have you compromised practice? Have you been morally, ethically, and truthfully as righteous as possible? I know how I stand on this list. It is not good. I could have been more righteous than I have been in the past.
So what would your answer be if the Lord came to you tonight and said, get your house in order, for thou shalt die, and not live? Hezekiah prayed, “remember how I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect hearty, and have done that which is good in thy sight.” Hezekiah destroyed false religion and pagan symbols that carried the people away from God.
What would our reply be?
JANUARY 29 – YE HAVE NOT BEEN THIS WAY BEFORE
Joshua 3:4 “… for ye have not passed this way heretofore. “
Our life is a path that we have not traveled before. There are others who have gone before us. Some are blessed with parents who have learned the pitfalls and the traps that would befall us on this dangerous journey. This journey is not for the faint of heart because of the perils that lie on each side of the path.
We are prepared by parents. God has blessed babies with parents. Parents are to prepare their children to live in a world that can be cruel and harsh. They are to be teachers that show maturity and common sense. They are to warn children of wrong paths. They are to teach children the work ethic to survive, manners to be able to get along with others and morals to live a life not besmirched with scandal and shame. Much of this is lost today because respect is not taught anymore. Manners have deteriorated. Parents are not teaching like they used to do.
Gods Word is a lamp unto our feet. Where parents fail or children rebel, there is the Word of God. Gods instruction manual is the Bible. It lays out the safest and best path for us to follow. It gives us a way of living that we are to pursue.
I find it amazing that parents that claim to be saved will find other pursuits for their children. They will teach them to allow activities such as ball games and otherworldly activities to take top billing from God. If we love our children we will make the house of God and worship more important than any social event or activity. Our desire is that they are saved. There is nothing in this world more important than having a lost child under the influence of the preaching of the Word so that they might be saved. Some parents are condemning their children to hell and calling it love.
God has prepared the way for those that are saved; whether raising a family, looking for employment, relations with others or living life to the fullest. We should study the Word and find the path that God has put before us.
May we learn obedience instead of rebellion. May we find that path where God has gone before us and smoothed the way so that we may have a rich life-giving abundant glory to God.
JANUARY 11 – EGYPT IS DESTROYED
Exodus 10:7 – “… Knowest thou not yet that Egypt is destroyed. ,
Why does it take the portals of death to get stiff necked people to repent? The lost at times can be so hard headed when it comes to the Lord and the lost peoples’ refusal to repent. Let me give you an example. A had been dealing with a young couple over several months. I had witnessed to them with no results. My wife and I invited them to an event in another town and we picked them up in my Dodge pickup truck It had the seat behind so they were fairly comfortable. As we left the event I began witnessing to them again. An aside, while driving down the highway at 70 miles an hour, they are not going to walk away. As I got to the end of witnessing, the young lady said, “I am mad.” What about? “My parents never told me this.” That was as far as I got that night. A later visit where I dealt with a problem that came up between husband and wife, I once again brought up the issue of salvation. I said to each – you know you are a sinner? Both answered yes. You know that if you die in this condition you will go to hell. Both replied yes. Do you know how to be saved? Both answered yes. Then why aren’t you calling upon the Lord to save you. The said to the husband, “yeah why aren’t you. They are both lost to this day. My question to them would be, “do you not know yet that you are destroying your family”
The sad reality is that it is not only the lost that are in this condition. There are those that profess to know the Lord and yet stubbornly hold on to their favorite sins, some false doctrines and other things that are contrary to God’s Word. Some know the life they should live and refuse to live that life. Men called to preach refuse to preach. Some announce the call to preach and refuse to pastor. Others will pastor but limit the call to a certain distance from their home. It is so easy to look at some one else that is saved and be critical of them. We do not see our own faults. We all to often are so pleased with ourselves we do not have time to worry about whether God is pleased with us or not.
We are to be servants to the only living God. Notice that servants said Egypt is destroyed. We as servants of God need to be bold and wise. We need to be yielded to the will of God. May we reach out to the lost to reveal to them that their lives are destroyed. May we be sensitive to the moving of God in our lives. Now go witness to some one.
By: Tony Hansen
This morning I began reading in the book of Daniel 1: 3-21
He was taken away from his home to live the rest of his life in a pagan, ungodly society. Among people who lived so different. Daniel did not protest, throw a fit, insist that they change for him. They were not going to change for him, yet he did not change for them either. He maintained his testimony, live a Godly life, influenced some people for good and served God and kings. God took care of him and blessed him in the midst of it all.
As I thought about we as children of God, we live in a sinful and ungodly society. Most are so because they are unsaved, some are saved but living according to the flesh and not the spirit.
Our society, world as a whole is not going to change for us. It is going to continue to be as it is and has been. No, I’m not being pessimistic but real. Yes, I do believe one should vote, speak up, stand for what is right and so on but not protest etc. and insist that the world change for us.
Instead, let us live Godly in the midst of it all. Be kind, caring, loving and compassionate Some will take notice, ask questions, doors will open to speak of our faith. Lives, people, famlies, will be changed, souls saved, The Lord will do the changing. And… let us be reminded …that He has us… in the midst of it all.
Have a great weekend! Happy Mother’s Day to all.
THIS IS THE ARTICLE FROM BROTHER TONY HANSEN.
Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.
INSTRUCTIONS? THERE ARE INSTRUCTIONS?
Parson to Person
“Hey, dad! I just bought this. It is all in the box. Will you put it together for me?” Well, of course dad would be happy to do that. After all, he has a tendency to love construction and mechanics of various sorts. Whether it is a book case, desk, what-not, or other “do-it-yourself” item, dad is fully confident. After all it is fairly simple, and what could go wrong? Oh, brother! How many readers have been in these shoes!
So, in full confidence the work begins. As the project nears an end, the last few pieces just do not seem to fit. Perhaps the manufacturer forgot to drill holes in the right place. Perhaps they made a mistake in their quality control and boxed the wrong pieces. It is then that someone suggests that it might be helpful if the instructions were consulted. “Instructions? There are instructions?” Sure enough the wrong pieces were used early on. Now, there is just one thing to do. Take it apart so it can be put together correctly. In the country, that was called “licking your calf all over again!” So much for the zealous confidence!
It occurs to this writer that multitudes of people approach religion in the very same way. They are confident that God will be pleased with whatever they do, believe, and teach because they are sincere, and, humanly speaking, mean well. After all, parents did this, friends do this, “churches” and “Pastors” do this, so it must be right. In every case mentioned, the wrong people are consulted and followed. Each of us are responsible to consult God through His Word. The Bible term for this sort of failing “Christianity” is “Iniquity.”
What is worse, many will not find out just how great their wasted life cost them until they stand before the Judge of all men. How much better it is to consult the instructions! God did not leave mankind without instructions. It is called the Holy Bible. It does not agree with the sinful nature of unrepentant men, many churches, and many pastors, but it brings unparalleled joy and peace to the repentant who look to it as the final authority and take its instructions to heart.
Say! What kind of life are you building? Is it full speed ahead in full confidence in the flesh; in self; in some religious leader? The wisest thing you will do in life is consult God’s instruction book of life in detail, and often. The life it builds for you will be right, rewarded, and accepted by the Creator/Savior/Judge! When the short span of life is over on earth, it is all finished no matter how wrong, and there is no taking it apart to start over again. . . and . . . Eternity . . . is a very long time!
By Julian Pope
A man in a hospital asked his doctor, “How long must I suffer in this hospital?” The doctor replied, “One day at a time.” Oliver Wendell Holmes said, “Surely anybody can live beautifully, victoriously, for one day.”
I think a good New Year’s resolution to make is to live one day at a time. This is what Jesus taught in the model prayer, “Give us day by day our daily bread (Luke 11:3), and in the Sermon on the Mount, “Take therefore no thought for the morrow: (Matt. 6:34).
If you do not live one day at a time, you will find yourself worrying about the future, or dreaming of magical rose garden in the distance while overlooking the flowers blooming at your door. If you will pray 365 times this year, “Give us day by day our daily bread,” and not worry about yesterday or tomorrow, this will be the greatest year of your life.
ONE VERSE PREFERENCE
If I could have in my possession only one verse of the Bible, which one would it be? Hands down, it would be John 3:16. It is so comprehensive that it pretty well covers all the bare essentials for fallen mankind. It is the key to evangelism. Think about it with me!
It begins, “For God.” Here is the presentation of the eternal, creator deity. There is no need to try to prove God. He doesn’t! He is, and it is literally the fool who does not know this.
It continues, “So loved.” Here is the essence of what God is. I John 4:8 says “God is love.” There is one God. He is the creator and eternal judge, and His essence is love. That draws me.
“God so loved the world.” Here is the object of His love: the inhabited world. It is unlimited to the world of men. As a part of that, I am then the object of His love. I am grateful, and I rejoice!
“That He gave.” Love is giving. Love is sacrifice by its own definition. God, the Creator is a giving God, not a taker. Rather than quake in fear, I run to Him in expectation.
“He gave His only begotten Son.” Love gives! It is not a trivial gift. It is not an expensive gift that would be trivial compared to His universal riches. It is His only begotten Son. The gift is the one and only expression of mankind who could pay the penalty of sin and did so from the depths of His essence of love and grace. It is as the scriptures put it, an “Unspeakable gift!”
“That whosoever.” What a wonderful word! Whosoever includes me! Whosoever excludes no one. The invitation to goodness, righteousness, life is indeed universal to the offspring of Adam.
“Believeth in Him.” The required prerequisite to everlasting life is to believe in Him. One might quibble about the degree of belief under consideration, but the term “believeth” is present tense, and means to trust for that which is eternal, and over which no mortal has control or authority in himself.
“Should not perish” Here is the opposite outcome for failure to believe in Him. Moreover, it is a divine statement that such belief produces the opposite of whatever ideas may be associated with “perish.” But for God, to perish is absolutely, universally certain!
“But have everlasting life.” Life: goodness in awareness minus any of the evils associated with present earthly life and sin. Life! Everlasting life! It is perfection, immortality, awareness in total righteousness without interruption or end. The very idea is overwhelming, but this is the greatest story ever told, the greatest gift ever given, the greatest hope of any human heart.
If I could have only one verse of scripture in my possession to love, live by, and share with others, it would be John3:16
THE COMPOUNDED EYE
As a small child in the community of Jenny Lind, Arkansas, a particular delight infrequently occurred by having a nickel to spend at one of three local stores. Clark and Bailey General Store sat on the west side of the highway traversing the community, and Presto Skinner’s store, later Griffin’s sat on the east side directly across from Clark’s. South about a block was Marion Matthews’ General Store. They were small buildings as most country stores were in the 1940s, but each of them had a large, glass, candy counter displaying all manner of delectable delights. Spending the nickel was not going to be easy because it demanded a decision to select one above all the others that must be left behind. With nose flattened against glass, the chore began. Imaginary tasting of each potential selection took a while much to the impatience of the proprietor. Finally, a choice was made, a purchase competed, and a happy kid walked out of the store with his sweet prize tickling taste buds on the walk home. What does this have to do with anything? Think with me!
Good decision making requires correct, studied information and good judgment to achieve a single eye. The prophet Elijah saw so many of his countrymen caught in the trap of the compounded eye, I Kings 18. His challenge to them was: “How long halt ye between two opinions?” They could not serve God and Baal. Their eye of life was compounded, and as Jesus taught, they were full of darkness, Matt. 6:22-23. That continues today as the religious offerings have increased exponentially together with a thousand other things vying for time and attention, offering promises that may or may not be true.
Your life is your nickel, and the world is filled with a myriad of offerings, brightly colored and touting themselves to be worthy of your interest and your years. It is the fool who spends it frivolously, but spend it each one will while often the compounded eye remains, or is narrowed in focus wrongly.. So long as one’s eye is compounded, full potential will never be achieved, and those whose eye is single, but focused on the wrong things will suffer eternal loss. Life is your nickel. Be very careful how you spend it: what you focus on as truly important. Narrowing the compounded eye to single vision with eternal hope can only be accomplished as Jesus, His person, words, and works are the focus!