Election Secure

A modern story based on John 1:45-51

Philip felt as though he would explode with excitement. He had just experienced a world view-changing encounter with the person of Jesus Christ. His sins were forgiven, his election secure. He walked across the campus at Bar-ilan University eagerly seeking someone with whom he could share his good news.

Sitting under a large tree nearby was his old friend, Nathaniel. Running up, Phil blurted out: “Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah! He lives in my life and heart!” He suspected that his words would sound radical to his Israeli friend. However, he had a long-standing relationship with Nate and knew that deep down Nate sought to know the truth about Jesus, just as Phil himself had.

Nate’s answer was slightly sarcastic, “Don’t forget that Jesus came from Nazareth. Where in the scriptures do the prophets of the Messiah mention Nazareth?”

Phil’s enthusiasm was undaunted: “Jesus was born in Bethlehem not Nazareth. Come on! Join our study group! We meet again before classes start on Thursday.”

Nate closed the cover on his tablet, stood up, and walked quickly toward the student housing. Bethlehem? He did seem to remember something about Bethlehem in the scriptures. He couldn’t wait to find out more.

Once inside, he grabbed a cold drink, did a search, and started to read Micah 5:2. But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of Old, from ancient days. He stood, up shocked! This verse was talking about the Messiah coming from Bethlehem! He picked up his cell and called Phil, “Count me in on Thursday.”

The heat of the day had not yet arrived as Phil and Nate headed toward the outside amphitheater. As they approached the group, one of the Messianic believers stood and announced: “See, here comes Nathanael, a truly-honest Israeli. God showed me that you would come.”

Nate was totally surprised, “How do you know me?’

The Messianic believer continued, “In my spirit, I saw you under the tree searching for truth on your tablet even before Phil invited you to our study group. Searching for truth is good my friend, because the scriptures tell us that “Send your…truth, let it lead me…” Psalms 43:3 The search for truth has led you to us.

Surprised at this seemingly prophetic statement about him, Nate’s answer was, “Surely, Jesus is Yeshua, the Son of God, the King of Israel!”

The believer gave Nate’s shoulder a pat. “You believe because I told you that I knew you would join our group? Sit down, friend, we have a lot more to show to you. I hope that you brought your scriptures.”

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Jeremiah’s Autobiography

Jeremiah at Prayer

Jeremiah at Prayer

I was chosen by God for His work at a young age, and at first I tried to resist. Then God touched me and said, “Behold I have put My words in your mouth.”1 For the next 40 years, under the reigns of four kings, I have been faithful to the word that the Lord gave me.
My life has been a lonely and difficult one. I was commanded by the Lord not to marry. The doom and gloom message that was mine to bring won me few friends. I was branded a traitor, attacked by my own brothers, beaten, put into the stocks, imprisoned, threatened with death, and thrown into a cistern.
The Lord’s word came at times in the form of prose, but most of the time it was in lyrical, poetic form. I effectively used several literary devices as I took dictation from the Lord’s mouth. God has given me a keen interest in plants and animals that sometimes expressed itself in the words that I chose. I often wept over the message that the Lord gave me and over the people for whom it was intended
However, not all of the news that I brought was dismal. The Lord also gave me a very exciting prophecy in the form of a description of the New Covenant: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God and they shall be My people. No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, “Know the Lord,” for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity and their sin I will remember no more.2 (Jeremiah 31:33,34) This New Covenant I consider to be the pinnacle of my revelation.

1 Jeremiah 1:9b
2 Jeremiah 31:33,34
Sources: New King James Bible notes, Wikipedia.

A President’s Day Prayer

Lincoln_Memorial

2 Chronicles 7:14

If my people, who are called by my name,
will humble themselves and pray
and seek my face
and turn from their wicked ways,
then I will hear from heaven,
and I will forgive their sin and
will heal their land.
2 Chronicles 7:14 NIV

Pat’s Paraphrase of 2 Chronicles 7:14

First of all, those of us who call ourselves “Christ-ins,” admit that we do NOT have all the answers as to what actions our government should take, but we do know You, Lord, and we know you DO have the answers.

We come to you on behalf of the leaders of our government. We want to be with you
and admit that we, as well as our leaders, need your guidance, wisdom, direction, and protection.

We turn from our wicked ways. Whether we are actively involved in falling short of Your righteous standards, or indifferent to the wrong doing that goes on around us, we want to repent. We want to change.

Change us, Lord! Give us victory where we need victory. Give us compassion where we need it. Make us sensitive to our culture.
Empower us to pray for the evil that surrounds us.

If we ask anything according to Your will (I John 5:14),
You promise to hear us just as You are listening now.
You promise to forgive us as individuals, and corporately!

You promise to heal the brokenness and dysfunction of our nation!
What an amazing promise! What a simple solution!

What a wonderful God!
Thank You! Thank You!

Friends

waterlilies

You complement me.
You make up for what I lack.
You complete me.
I can depend on you.
When I am at my worst,
you encourage me.
When I succeed,
you are happy for me.
When I need you,
you are there.
But you give me space,
when that’s what I require.
You are sensitive to me.
You ‘hold my feet to the flame’
until I become the person I was created to be.
You are essential to me.
-P.A. Lockridge

Change Comes to the Life of Joseph

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The picture at the left shows Joseph confidently explaining Pharaoh’s dream. Only hours earlier he had been in prison.  One can only wonder what was going through Joseph’s mind at this time.  Did he remember the sudden change that came to him when he was still in his teens.  His half-brothers sold him, and he became a slave in a distant land?  Did he remember a second change that came when Potiphar’s wife falsely accused him, and he went from being head of a household to being a prisoner?  Did he wonder if another terrible change was about to occur if Pharaoh was displeased and beheaded him?

None of these misgivings is evident in Joseph’s explanation of Pharaoh’s dream.  Joseph answered Pharaoh, “It is not in me, God will give Pharaoh a favorable answer.”  We all know the ending of this story.  Before the hour was out, Joseph was standing before Pharaoh as second in authority in the entire land of Egypt!–a sudden change to be certain, and a positive one.

Another change had taken place in Joseph–a subtle change that came over many years.  With his first dream, Joseph had declared to his father and brothers, “Hear this dream that I have dreamed.”  Nowhere in his statement is God even mentioned.  Years later when Joseph stood before Pharaoh, he said, “It is not in me, God will give…” he was no longer a cocky, arrogant youth, but a young man who, through difficulty, had learned to trust his God.  As such he was ready to receive a promotion that came from God!

“… what exalts someone doesn’t come from the east or west; it’s not from the south either.  Rather it is God who is the judge.  He brings this person down, but that person he lifts up.”  Common English Bible.

The Titanic Effect

Psalm 2:4 The one who rules in the heavens laughs; my Lord makes fun of them. Common English Bible

John 15:5 Without Me you can’t do anything. Common English Bible

Here is a trivia question for you: What do the stories of the Tower of Babel, the sinking of the Titanic, the failure of the space shuttle Challenger, and the Japanese Tsunami of 2011 have in common?
We have already examined in depth the story of the Tower of Babel Most of us are familiar with the story of the Titanic. Dubbed “unsinkable” it was not equipped with enough life boats to accommodate all of its passengers and crew. It struck an iceberg on its maiden voyage in 1912 and sank drowning more than 1,500 passengers. This failure became known as “the deadliest peacetime maritime disaster in modern history.”(1)

The explosion of the Space Shuttle Challenger in 1986.

The explosion of the Space Shuttle Challenger in 1986.

Many of us may not remember the story of the space shuttle “Challenger” in 1986. It was thought to be so safe that a school teacher was added to the crew to teach school children from space. Some students were selected from my husband’s school to go to Florida and witness the historic launch firsthand. Instead of victory for man’s accomplishments, my husband and his students saw a fireball and a smoke plume that divided and twisted about and from which streams of debris fell to the sea. One can never forget these pictures or the photo of the school teacher’s two young children who were left motherless by man’s confidence in his own ability apart from God. The Challenger along with the Titantic, touted as among mankind’s greatest achievements, found watery graves in the Atlantic Ocean.

Another example is the unexpectedly large Japanese tsunami of 2011. That tsunami, together with the earthquake, resulted in more than 16,000 deaths and the cost of rebuilding is estimated at more than three hundred billion dollars. All this damage and loss of life took place in Japan. Surprising because Japan had the most extensive tsunami defense system in the world. “Although Japan has invested the equivalent of billions of dollars on anti-tsunami seawalls which line at least 40% of its 34,751 km (21,593 mi) coastline and stand up to 12 m (39 ft) high, the tsunami simply washed over the top of some seawalls, collapsing some in the process.”(1)
Remember the question that we posed at the beginning of this article: The answer should be evident at this point. In each case the disaster was thought to be highly unlikely if not impossible. Mankind had thought to overcome anything that nature could throw its way. Yet in every case where we (mankind) felt invincible, we were instead found to be very vulnerable, and we experienced a colossal failure! Trying to do things our own way has not turned out well for the human race.
It is sobering to think of these stories, especially when it is so easy for us to choose our way rather than God’s purposes . From this time forward, may He direct our paths!

(1)Wikipedia.org

A Story of Tower of Babel

Tower of Bable - Gustov Dore - public domain

Tower of Bable – Gustov Dore – public domain

Jacham, a shepherd, had brought his wife and sons to visit his brother, Ephred, and his family in the beautiful city of Shimar. They had come to witness the completion of the tower that stretched skyward in the middle of the city. After a leasurly breakfast served by Ephred’s beautiful daughters, Jacham departed with Ephred while his wife and sons conversed with their relatives.
Ephred took Jacham to the city center where Jacham watched for a few minutes as ox cart loads of sun-dried bricks and buckets of tar that were used for mortar climbed the tower by way of a screw. As the carts circled the tower they also climbed upward, ever upward. Jacham looked at the top of the tower. “How high can it go?” he breathed in wonder and excitement. The engineer laughed. “I guess we can continue building until we reach Heaven. Then we can go up there and bring God down! Nothing is too difficult for us!”
Meanwhile, in the heavens above the city, God was watching. God’s plan was for mankind to acknowledge Him. Instead, the families of the earth had gathered together and were concentrating their efforts on a project of pride and arrogance–a ridiculously high tower. Now that they were unified, they could achieve much, but they were going in the wrong direction–against God’s plan. They must be stopped!
Suddenly there was a flash of light. Jacham rubbed his eyes. He could see that the engineer was still speaking to him, but he his words seemed like gibberish. Something was wrong up on the tower as well. Two men were gesturing and waving their arms wildly near the top. In the confusion the oxen pulled away from the tower core and slipped over the edge. The tower was damaged by the fall of the ox cart, workman scrambled to repair the breach, but could no longer communicate. Chaos was everywhere. Machinery malfunctioned, scaffolding teetered and fell and finally the tower itself leaned precariously and collapsed destroying the city that lay below.
Jacham could not believe what his eyes had just witnessed. As the dust rose from the collapse, he heard shouting and cursing, with confusion everywhere. Within the hour Jacham, his wife, and sons were once again in their ox cart on the outskirts of Shinar. This time they were not alone. All types of transportation: horseback riders, camels, chariots, and wagons filled the brick roads as people fled the city. One man stopped and looked at Jacham and pointed back at the city that was now engulfed in smoke and flames from the myriads of fires that had erupted. “Babel,” he said. “Babel, Babel.” Jacham understood. The language of the great city had become babble, and the city had been reduced to rubble!
A few hours later Jacham could see his own herds of goats and sheep grazing peacefully in the distance. He was back to the safety of his home! With uplifted hands Jacham praised the God of his fathers!  Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it. Psalm 127:1 KJV