Hurricanes and God

Harvey, Irma and more

Psalm 83:15 So persecute them with thy tempest, and make them afraid with thy storm.

            In the text verse the Psalmist asks God to punish the enemies of Israel and God with a mighty wind and storm. In light of the recent events in natural disasters, the question that many ask is: “Is this a punishment from God?” Different people will have a different opinion about these events. The “gloom and doom” people declare that this is some kind of punishment – whether from God or nature for man’s crimes on earth. To the environmentalists it is a sure indication that we have violated the earth and it is a direct result of climate change. The futurists say it is a definite sign of the soon return of Christ and to the atheists and others it is just a natural weather event in the life of earth.

            The word “storm” is used eleven times in the Old Testament and it carries varying meaning but always the idea of wind and floods. One time it carries the idea of “terror” that it instills in people.

            We must first recognize that God is ultimately in

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Minds and hearts kept

Philippians 4:6-7  Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7  And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Happiness and joy

            God does not want His children to be mule faced about serving Him. It is also Paul’s desire for us to be rejoicing in our Christian experience (Phil 4:4). We often see this theme in the New Testament teachings – exhortations to be overcomers. Even in the Old Testament passages speak of overcoming circumstances through God (Psa 3:5; 4:8). People do not want to hear what we have to say about our faith if it does not keep us through the difficult times of life. Do we get stressed out? Can we sleep well? Is the joy of the Lord our strength?

Paul’s exhortation

      Be careful for nothing – don’t be anxious or full of care. It means anxiety or harassing care, nervous solicitude, brooding over the matter. Jesus taught that we are not to take thought for certain items. It has the same meaning as Paul’s exhortation in this passage. Don’t

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Having the mind of Christ

1 Corinthians 2:16   For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

The mind of man

      The Bible mentions several aspects of the mind – reprobate mind (Ro 1:28), carnal mind (Ro 8:7) and a defiled mind (Tit 1:15). It speaks of those who “walk in the vanity of their mind” and “blindness of the mind” (Eph 4:17-18).

      When a person is born again he/she becomes a new creature in Christ and begins the work and life of renewing their mind so that they might not follow the world’s way of living (Ro 12:1-2).

Knowing the mind of the Lord

      Paul echoed the same thing in Ro 11:34 probably quoting from Isa 40:13 when he wrote it. It is an interesting question very much different from us today who can literally know what another is thinking – husbands and wives.

      There are many aspects to God’s infinite mind, but the key is undoubtedly the attribute of sacrificial love (Phil 2:5-6, 8). So following His example we should be of a humble mind: not to think of our self beyond what we are (1 Cor

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Man of God

1 Timothy 6:11  But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.

Man or woman of God:

      The expression “man of God” appears 78 times in the Bible with only two occurrences in the New Testament, both of these are by Paul to Timothy the other being in 2 Timothy 3:17.  In the Old Testament it is used often of prophets or those sent by God for His work. Sometimes they are named and other times they are simply called the man of God. The first occurrence is in reference to Moses (Deut. 33:1) and often throughout the Old Testament he is called man of God. David is called man of God in Neh 12:24. In Judges when an angel appears to Manoah and his wife about Samson, he is called a man of God.

Qualities of a man or woman of God:

            Moses being called a man of God was a great leader and the law giver to Israel. He was also said to be the meekest man (Num 12:3). David being called a man of God is said to be a man after God’s own heart (Acts

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Seeking Healing

Man at the pool

John 5:1-5  After this there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
2  Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches. 3  In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water. 4  For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had. 5  And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years.

Pool of healing:

     The pool was called Bethesda or House of Mercy, a place where sheep were probably kept and where the impotent gathered in hope of receiving a healing. None of those around this pool would be permitted to attend the worship at the temple because of their sickness, disease or whatever their physical impotency was with which they were afflicted. Some versions do not include this verse saying that certain manuscripts do not include it and feel that it was added

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Keeping your experience in Christ

Maintaining our experience

James 1:2-4  My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;
3  Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. 4  But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

Obtaining the experience:

      The Christian walk was never promised to be a “cake walk”, but one with trouble and difficult encounters and experiences (Jn 16:33). We deal with other people – some Christian and some not – and they live in bodies with temperaments affected by the fall just as we are affected. They experience similar circumstances and feelings as we do. They have bad days and experience moods the same as we do, so that inter-personal experiences can sometimes be less than great.

      Seeking and obtaining the sanctified experience is the duty of every Christian (1 Thes 4:3-4; Eph 3:16-19) and can be seemingly difficult. Once we bring our wills into surrender we enter into this experience and keep on following and yielding our wills and entire self to God (Rom 12:1-2).

Maintaining the experience:

      1. Secure and maintain an abiding attitude against any sin – if we lack a whole

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Obedience and love

Ephesians 3:19   And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.

            Knowing the love of Christ is beyond our mere intellect. So, how is it we can know the length, breadth, depth and height of God’s love along with all saints? God provides us with the answer in His word.

First: obedience:

            1 John 2:5   But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. Though our submission, God perfectds His love in us and carries it through to completion.

Second: loving others:

            1 John 4:12 . If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. Love is of God and He desires that we be like Him. God so loved the world that He gave . . . This I part of His holy character and hHe desires us to be like Him in love.

                We must remember that He first loved us and we are responding to that love of the Author of love who instigated the relationship of love. Our obedient response

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Uncertainties

Life’s uncertainties 

John 14:5  Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?

Uncertain times:

      We live in very uncertain times; financial uncertainties, unrest, spiritual lethargy and compromise, ecclesiastical apostasy, political turmoil and etc. As the song writer expressed it, days are filled with worry and care, hearts are lonely and drear . . . but he goes on to say, burdens are lifted at Calvary, Jesus is always near. Some may even get to the point of doubting Scripture and even their own experience.

      When Jesus began talking to His disciples about His forth coming crucifixion and death, they were troubled. And when Jesus told them that they knew where He was going and they also knew the way, Thomas told Him how can we know the way (Jn 14:1-5). Jesus responded with the certainty that they needed – He was the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

The Way:

      In the world there is a severe push to make the way to heaven into many ways to heaven. The compromise of the church from a beacon of light and call to repentance has turned into a

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Contentment

Learning to be content 

Philippians 4:10-12 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity. 11  Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. 12   I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.

Paul’s thanks to the Philippians:

     When Paul expresses his thanks to the Philippians, he does so in such a way that shows his appreciation for the gift, but also his dependence upon God and not the gifts.  He tells them in such a way that he was not sitting waiting for their support or wandering why they had not sent anything prior to it. He wants them to know how grateful he is but also that his happiness is not dependent upon it.

      Paul said that he learned to be content – independent of circumstance, or conditions or surroundings; having sufficiency in oneself. Paul

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Trust

Knowing and trusting

Psalm 9:10   And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.

Knowing the name of the Lord:

      God’s names are important, for they tell us about Him and His relationship to us and all of mankind. When Mary proclaimed, “God my Savior”, she was not only referencing Jesus as God, but also acknowledging that God is our Savior. There was not a struggle to persuade God to save mankind by Jesus and the Holy Spirit. God loves His creation and desires that all come to Him in repentance (2 Pet 3:9). To Isaiah, God announced His name (Isa 42:8) declaring He would not allow an idol to receive the glory belonging to Him.

 Jehovah is the most commonly known name for God, meaning the self existing One. He was before there was time or anything, He is presently and He will be eternally after this thing we know as time has vanished. (Rev 1:8, 11; 21:6; Isa 41:4). God was here before there was anything and He will be here after all is gone. There is none like Him and there will never

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Keeping and avoiding

1 Timothy 6:20  O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called:

Positive and negative:

     Paul charges Timothy with both positive and negative instructions. The Christian walk and life is a combination of both the positive and negative. There are things we must do as Christians and there are things we need to avoid. “Keep” is a military term which carries the idea of isolation or being on guard duty for the rest of the people. “Avoid” means more than just turning away from, but an active and willful rejecting or turning away. Paul taught Timothy by example as he took Timothy with him on the mission journeys and also instructed him through his letters.

Keep:

      Timothy is to guard that which has been committed unto him (1 Tim 5:22). When we are saved our hearts and lives are purified by the Holy Spirit (Acts 15:9) and Paul admonishes Timothy to guard that experience (1 Tim 3:9). Peter tells us that purifying of the soul involves obedience (1 Pet 1:22).

      Jesus instructed the disciples to guard His words (Jn 14:15, 23). In the parable

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Blessed is the nation

Psalm 33:12  Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.

          America was founded upon Christian principles and ideals. Although not all the Founding Fathers were Christian they were all God-fearing men and women. Some in recent years have tried to change history to tell us that they were all atheists and unfortunately there are those who actually believed this lie. The Fathers prayed for three hours before their congressional meetings, asking for divine help and guidance. If they were all atheists they would not pray at all let along for three hours.

          The Founding Fathers knew the text verse and its implications for our nation. Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD. The word LORD is Jehovah, the great I AM of the Old Testament times and especially the God who met with Moses to bring Israel out of Egyptian bondage and into the Promised Land. They knew which religion was being expressed by this passage and what the implications of it were. They were convinced that the God of the Bible was being identified as the One who blesses any nation that confirms

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Judge not

Judging others

Matthew 7:1  Judge not, that ye be not judged.

Familiar maxim:

     Often we hear this verse quoted by unbelievers or carnal Christians when someone will say something about them, their actions, dress, etc. It is used as a rebuke to those whom they regard as intolerant to them or their ways. These are the words of Christ and they are given as a warning to the self-righteous condemnation of others with whom they disagree on the basis of superficial criteria.

Differing words:

      Matt 7:1 – krino:  ”to pass judgment; to sentence”

      1 Cor 2:15 – anakrino: “question; examine; evaluate”

      1 Cor 11:31 – diakrino: “make distinction; weigh thoroughly”

      Gal 6:4; 1 Jn 4:1 – dokimazo: “test; examine; interpret”

      2 Cor 13:5 – peirazo: “examine; to prove; to try”

Discerning and judging:

      The command of Jesus not to judge does not relieve us of our duty to be a discerning and examining people. We are to evaluate beliefs, actions and spirits in light of Scripture. Matt 10:16 is a directive from Jesus for us in this world of wickedness.

      It is important for us to know the difference between a judging

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Judging

Judging one another

James 4:11-12  Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge. 12  There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?

Two types of sin:

     Christians commit two types of sin in the area of criticism – they are too harsh in criticizing others; and they get offended if they are criticized. Criticism can be good and/or bad. If it is designed to help a fellow Christian in their walk with the Lord, then it can be very beneficial. If it is too harsh or extreme and spoken in the wrong manner, it can become very bad, even sinful, because it enters into the realm of judging which only God is qualified to do.

Results of criticism:

            Criticism, even constructive, can generate resentment, quarreling and enmity. It can damage the character of the critic as much as the recipient. It can build walls between Christians (Prov 18:19) and cause divisions. The

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God invites you

The invitations of God

John 1:39  He saith unto them, Come and see. They came and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that day: for it was about the tenth hour.

Invitations from Jesus

      Our text is the first invitation of Jesus to “come” to Him. On this occasion, right after His baptism by John the Baptist, He invited two potential disciples to come with Him to His dwelling place. It is very likely that Jesus stayed as a “street Person” because on one occasion He said, “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.” (Matt 8:20) One night abiding with Jesus made a deep impression upon these two and they became His disciples. 

      Later Jesus issued another invitation to them (Mk 1:17); first Jesus invited them to come to see Him and begin to get to know Him, then come along with Him as He goes out to win the lost. The promise to them in this invitation was that they would become fishers of men.

      Another wonderful invitation is to those who are burdened and weighed down

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Our help in time of trouble

In time of trouble

Psalm 27:5  For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.

David’s confidence in God

            David says that even though his enemies came to destroy him (2); in spite of the danger he looks to God for safety (1). David is trusting in God for his earthly salvation as well as his eternal salvation. But why was it that God would preserve David?

David had a heart for God

            David was declared by God to be a “man after His own heart”. This means that David sought after the things of God and desired God’s honor. When David went against Goliath his concern was for God and His name(1 Sam 17:26, 45-47). David was concerned about God’s anointing upon Saul when Saul was trying to kill him (1 Sam 24:6). In this Psalm David speaks of his desire to seek God (4, 8, and 11).

It is God’s nature

            By His very nature God hates evil and extends grace to His own. God is here pictured as a warrior conquering the

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When Christ came

In the fullness of time

Galatians 4:4-5  But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 5  To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.

God’s time

      When something happens to us suddenly like the strike of lightning or the eruption of a volcano or an earthquake, we think of God and His power. We think of God coming suddenly in the affairs of man and earth. It seems to us as if there was no warning – just all of a sudden “boom”.

      God can and does come suddenly upon us and the world, but more likely it is probably the opposite. We see God in nature and His working in our lives and that of others, but we see perhaps only the climax of His workings and not the process.

      Throughout Scripture we see God revealing Himself not all at once, but over years of progressive revelation as He builds upon that revelation thru His prophets and the events of life. God told of His coming to earth thru the prophets and each had

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What if?

What if Christ had not come?

John 15:22  If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin.

Effects on mankind:

      Man would not have the possibility to gain heaven. The only way to enter heaven is to have our sins paid for and we cannot pay for our own sin and live. Heaven would be closed to mankind and God would remain separate from us. Man would abide forever under the curse of sin. There would be continual sacrifices being made.

We would be telling time as the Jews – 6,023 or something like that. There would be no hope for a lasting peace on earth.

There would be no Christmas season to celebrate. No decorations, carols, or nativity.

There would be no church, no communion or Easter, no great hymns. There would be no New Testament; no new covenant. The story of man would end in a curse Mal 4:6. The bridge from God to man would be incomplete.

God without honor:

      Bethlehem vindicated God’s promise of a Deliverer in Genesis. The announcement of “a child is born . . . a son

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Knowing Truth

How to know the truth

John 7:17  If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.

Ever learning:

      Paul writes about certain philosophers in 2 Tim 3:7 saying that they were unable to come to the knowledge of the truth. In the next verse, Paul tells us why they cannot – even though they are highly intelligent or well educated – they resist the truth. Resist means to oppose, set against, to withstand. They could not learn the truth because they were not willing to believe it or obey it when they learned it. An example of that today is the controversy among Christians about the Genesis account of creation. The written text says six days and there are those who say that it means six literal twenty-four hour days and others who say it means thousands, even billions of years. Often the unbelief or unwillingness to believe the plain reading of Scripture comes because of man’s contrary teaching and supposed evidences opposing what the Bible says.

      The difficulties in this as well as in other doctrinal difficulties are a basic unwillingness to

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The gay issue

Leviticus 18:22 Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination. Leviticus 20:13  If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.

Abomination to God:

      The word used for abomination is toebah and literally means “a disgusting thing, abomination” and in every occurrence it is either translated as abomination, abominable thing or just abominable. When a person commits the sin of homosexuality it is also called “going after strange flesh” (Jude 7); the word strange is also used in relation to other gods (Josh 24:23), and also a foreign woman or a prostitute or temptress (1 Ki 11:1; Prov 6:24).

Called sodomy:

      The name sodomite comes from the city of Sodom where this prevalent sin is recorded in Scripture was that of homosexuality (Gen 19:4-5). This was not their only sin because there was much wickedness in it (Jer 23:13-14; Eze 16:48-50).

      The practice of sodomy was associated with false gods and the worship of them (Jud 19:22; 1 Ki 14:24). This along with other cultic practices were part of

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