Friday, May 25, 2018

The Armor of God | Truth

There are plenty of studies on the armor of God that do a great job on describing what the armor is. Yet, it's still challenging to get a good grasp of what the armor actually is and how to put the armor on. So, let's come at this in a little bit different way.

The Armor of God speaks to our thought process. We put on that armor with our thinking.

Since the armor of God is such an important part of our walk, let's shift our thinking and look at it from a a different perspective. Instead of starting with the what and how of the armor, let's look at the effect of the armor and maybe the what and how will make more sense.

The Effect of Armor

The most prominent place the armor of God is listed is in Ephesians 6:14-18 NKJV. Each piece of armor has an effect. Since it is spiritual armor, and we are physically oriented, it can be difficult to understand what is happening when we have it on.

One of the things we know about armor is that once we are in the battle, we shouldn't have to think about the armor. It will passively protect us and we shouldn't have to give it another thought. We inspect, test and repair the armor on a regular basis and ensure it is fitted correctly on us.

Now, there are probably many effects that we can identify but this study is simply to start the process. For our purposes, we are focusing on one effect but be sure to seek out more. If you find more than what is listed here, please add them to the comment section below.

So, let's look at the effect of each piece over the next few weeks. Today we are tackling the Belt of Truth!

The Belt of Truth

Having girded your waist with truth...Ephesians 6:14-18 NKJV

Truth has an effect. The effect is liberty. It makes us free!

We now know one effect of truth.

Probably easier than you were thinking but let's walk through it. When we examine our freedom in Christ there awakens a whole new way of living and thinking that brings refreshing.

However, if we don't know the truth or how to get the truth, we will find ourselves ineffective as a follower of Christ and not walking in that liberty. Truth always works but we have to put it on, or as the scripture instruct, "having our waist girded with truth."

Now, how do we do that?

So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, "If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free." - John 8:31-32 NASB

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Happiness vs. Joy

There may be a few ways to look at happiness vs. joy and maybe this will add value to their distinctions. Happiness is generally determined by what is happening to us or even an accumulation of good or bad events or circumstances. Joy is completely different. It is determined by what we choose.

It is a fruit of the Spirit and the Holy Spirit, in a Christian, is always producing this fruit.

When you ask someone if they are happy, the happy person says something like, "I feel good, things are going well, there haven't been any emergencies, my relationships are going well." The unhappy person says, "I haven't felt good, things are not going great, I've had a few emergencies and relationships have been tough." These are all external influences.

Joy, for the Christian, is internal. It is a fruit of the Spirit and the Holy Spirit, in a Christian, is always producing this fruit. It's our job to get in on it. The barrier for doing this, comes from thinking we are the source of joy and we have to go outside of ourselves to get it.

The Old Man or The New Man

The scriptures describe two natures within the born again Christian. They have a few different names and traits that will probably be familiar.

The Old Man | The New Man
The Old Nature | A New Nature
The Flesh | The Spirit
The World | The Mind of Christ
Slave to Sin | Slave to Christ
Death | Life and Peace
Mind Set On Fleshly Desires | Mind Set On What The Spirit Desires
Old Things Have Passed Away | All Things Have Become New

All things have become new. The place where we find the biggest impact of "all things being new" is in our thinking. Thinking is the mechanism of our transformation in Christ. It's a whole new world of how one thinks. When it comes to walking in the fruit of the Spirit, it's a choice to walk in that fruit.

The confusion comes from thinking that says, you either feel great and have the joy of the Lord or you feel terrible and do not have the joy of the Lord. That is completely untrue. We actually have both at the same time.

Our hearts ache, but we always have joy. 2 Corinthians 6:10 NLT

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Chuck Missler, Servant Of Christ

Dr. Chuck Missler went to be with the Lord on May 1st, 2018.

It is difficult to put into words what he has meant to me as my heart has been heavy. He has taught the Word of God for decades and I am just one of so many that he has touched in that time.

I am grateful to have known Chuck through his teachings. It was my Uncle Pat and Aunt Sheryl, who lent me the first Chuck Missler, Briefing Pack, which kicked off the most intense, insightful and thorough Biblical studies that I have ever come across.

The Briefing Pack was called, The Coming Temple, Update. I remember it looking a little different than what you see here. The cover was pink and just had the words, The Coming Temple, Update, on the front. The pack shown here, I believe is a newer version.

The Coming Temple Update by Chuck Missler | My First Briefing Pack
My first Briefing Pack

If I remember correctly, the cover looked more like the following Briefing Pack, which I understand was Chuck's first Briefing Pack. He called it, a "Two Pack." I found this tidbit in the Compass International's weekly email, which featured a wonderful tribute to Chuck. Thank you, Compass International!

There He Was!

I met Chuck Missler one time and I remember it vividly.

My wife Lisa and I we're visiting family in Newport, Washington, and took a morning to visit  Koinonia House in Post Falls, Idaho, where Chuck was headquartered. We drove over and I was pretty excited. I was thinking there was no chance I would see Chuck but wanted to see where all those Briefing Packs were coming from.

We walked into the front office of Koinonia House, aka K-House, and met the friendly receptionist and started to peruse the selection. I was on high alert as I was thinking, how in the world could I get a chance to shake Chuck's hand?!?

Lisa and I were like kids in a candy store. I knew from Chuck's newsletter, Personal Update, that he had dozens of Briefing Packs and commentaries, but this was crazy. I was in the showroom people! If I had, had a wheelbarrow, I would have carted off the entire lot.

Then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw someone walk in the front door and begin to make his way up a set a stairs that I had not noticed. It was Chuck! I honestly didn't know what to do. I wanted to be sure to treat him like a brother, not a rock star, and my window was closing fast.

I had the sense that Chuck was adept at getting through the front door and up those steps quickly, as anyone in the small bookstore would want a little time to speak with him... and I'm sure that "little time" would turn into a lot of time, and I get that. However, he had the posture that he would take whatever time I wanted to engage with him.

I simply said, "Chuck?"

He stopped at the first step, stepped back and turned, "yes?"

I squeezed out, "How are you, sir?"

"I'm doing great, how are you?" he responded.

"I'm doing very well, thank you. Have a good day."

"Ok, you too."

I wanted the rest of the day with him but this was appropriate and the honor was all mine.

Later that week, I went to one of Chuck's live meetings. I was soooo excited to see Chuck speak in person, so this was a real treat. I arrive early and got my seat and strapped in for the ride of my life. Well, it turns out that Chuck had a guest that night, so instead of Chuck, I got Avi Lipkin.

My heart dropped to the floor as, I was thinking, "I've come all this way to get a guest speaker!?! For crying out loud!" Hahaha! Well it turns out I was in for the ride I was expecting but it was the great Avi Lipkin at the wheel.

That setting turned out to be, a new Briefing Pack, not in circulation, which for all intents and purposes was Avi's prediction of "planes falling out of the sky and buildings blowing up," that was given a mere 2 months before 911.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Biblical Archaeology

There are many ways to confirm the authenticity of the scriptures and confirm the recorded accuracy of what makes up the 66 books of the Bible and the reality of the God of the Bible. Although, our best method for confirming the truth of the bible just may be what the psalmist suggested in 1Psalm 34:8 (NLT) and simply, “Taste and see that the LORD is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!”

Biblical Archaeology has laid out what seems to be an endless case for the authenticity of the Bible.

Yet, there are other fantastic ways to begin to see and confirm the authenticity of the Bible. Anything from showing the accuracy of the many ancient prophecies, to confirming the existence of individuals mentioned, the eyewitness accounts, detailed accounts of places, events, and even the timing of events, are all great places to start. 

The study of Biblical Archaeology is one of these disciplines that can be persuasive logically and coherently in showing someone of the opposing view, why Christianity is a Worldview that makes a lot of sense, and in fact, doesn’t make sense to reject. Used the right way we can make our case for biblical authenticity and more importantly deliver the Gospel at every opportunity.

Biblical Archaeology has laid out what seems to be an endless case for the authenticity of the Bible. Let’s begin by endeavoring to define archaeology, the Historical Method, and cite what will simply amount to a small fraction of the many archaeological proofs that establish the scriptures as authentic and an accurately preserved document. 

Then we will describe and demonstrate how to deliver the Gospel so we can not only persuade but also win others to Christ.

Defining Terms

A great way to start is to define terms. What is archaeology? 

According to Wikipedia, 2archaeology, or archeology, is the study of human activity through the recovery and analysis of material culture. The archaeological record consists of artifacts, architecture, biofacts or ecofacts, and cultural landscapes. 

So, it’s the study of “old stuff” to reveal a culture and when it existed.

What is Biblical Archaeology? 

Again, from Wikipedia, 3Biblical archaeology involves the recovery and scientific investigation of the material remains of past cultures that can illuminate the periods and descriptions in the Bible, be they from the Old Testament (Tanakh) or from the New Testament, as well as the history and cosmogony of the Judeo-Christian religions.

The next question is, how do we deal consistently with the evidence we find, so we have a standard for interpreting our results?

It’s fun to jump into the myriad examples of archaeological Biblical proofs but it is important to start with the methodology, known as the “historical method,” so we can begin to understand the significance of findings and take a thoughtful approach in demonstrating archaeology as a powerful means of verifying that the scriptures reveal real people, real events and they are referenced in the appropriate time in history. 

This is so we can attribute the correct value of any one finding. That is to say, that how we deal with our information is as important as the information itself. A consistent methodology gives us a baseline for making good judgements.

The Historical Method

So, what is the historical method? 

According to Wikipedia the, 4“Historical method comprises the techniques and guidelines by which historians use primary sources and other evidence, including the evidence of archaeology, to research and then to write histories in the form of accounts of the past.” 

The highlight here is, “the techniques and guidelines.”  These guidelines, if accurate for attributing value to the evidence of non-biblically related findings, are certainly applicable to findings that are biblically related. 

A thorough analysis of the Historical Method would be more than what could be accomplished here. We as laymen, and the vast majority of people we will engage in this kind of discussion, most likely do not have the time to digest all that comes along with the historical methodology but it is reasonable to expect that all findings should be treated with the same guidelines, and dare I say, respect. 

With that let’s look at just a few examples of biblical archaeology after a quick intermission.