Sunday, December 7, 2014

The Big Thunder Gold Mine and Seeking After God

My family and I visited South Dakota this year on our family vacation, during which we stopped at the Big Thunder Gold Mine and were amazed to hear the history of that piece of property.  At a time when mining was extremely dangerous and the average miner would drop over dead after just a few years of work, two German immigrants bought the property and labored for decades cutting through solid rock by hand:
"Using hand equipment to drill holes in the solid rock, they then placed the powder in the drill holes to blast the rock loose. The miners used the drilling process called double jacking. One miner would hold the steel drilling bit, and the other would hit it with a sledge hammer."
Our guide told us that when visibility was poor, the miner holding the drill bit would place his thumb over the end of the bit so that his companion would have a target to aim at. He would then shout "MARK!" and move his thumb out of the way before his friend smashed it with a sledge hammer! Once the dynamite was inserted into the holes and lit, the miners would have to run out of the mine in order to escape the blast debris; a task which no doubt increased in difficulty as the miners became older and the mine became longer.

The miners earned almost nothing from their work in the mine, but I was struck at how they willingly spent decades of their lives engaged in the most grueling and life threatening work in the mere hope of riches.  I could not help but think of our Christian lives and wonder how much we are willing to go through for Christ who died for us, when we are assured of success and eternal reward.  May God help us to live for Him!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

David Did NOT Dance Naked Before the Lord!

In 2 Samuel chapter 6, David brings the ark of the covenant into the City of David, going before the ark with singing, music, and dancing.  His wife Michal does not join the procession, however, but aloofly watches from her window.  In 2 Samuel 6:20b, she condescendingly says "How glorious was the king of Israel today, uncovering himself today in the eyes of the maids of his servants, as one of the base fellows shamelessly uncovers himself!"  This statement has been twisted by some to claim that David was dancing naked, but that position is simply untenable.  Back up just a few verses and read the description of when David was dancing:
2 Samuel 6:14-15 (NKJV) "Then David danced before the Lord with all his might; and David was wearing a linen ephod. So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouting and with the sound of the trumpet."

There's another mention of the event in 1st Chronicles, which clearly states that David wore not only a linen ephod (which was a priestly garment), but a robe underneath that as well:
1 Chronicles 15:27 (NKJV) "David was clothed with a robe of fine linen, as were all the Levites who bore the ark, the singers, and Chenaniah the music master with the singers. David also wore a linen ephod."

Clearly, David was "uncovered" in Michal's eyes because he had removed his kingly garments and replaced them with plain simple clothing - not because he was naked.

Friday, June 20, 2014

God's Resistance to Sin and Offer of Salvation

When God cursed the earth, He made it more difficult for man to fulfill His commands to " fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over ... every living thing that moves on the earth." (Genesis 1:28) God shortened the lives he had given to Adam and Eve, but did not snuff them out. God created thorns and made the ground more difficult for Adam to work, but it was not impossible for him to get his food. God gave Eve great pain in childbirth, but she could still have children.

He did all of this because His holiness demands that He not bless and assist man's wicked and sinful rebellion in any way - yet His grace and mercy plead for patience and second chances. He permits sin to exist on the Earth for a short season, not because he approves of sin but because the alternative would be to destroy the world.

Yet, "scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, 'Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.' ... But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance." (2 Peter 3:3-4,8-9)

Repent therefore, and turn to the Lord that your sins may be blotted out and your name added to the Lamb's book of life. Jesus Christ, who knew no sin, became sin for us, that we might be made righteous through Him. "if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved." (Romans 10:9)

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Old Testament Verses About the Resurrection

I was speaking with a Jewish woman recently who stated that "we are only guaranteed this life". I found that surprising since the Old Testament contains several references to the resurrection, but it seems that her perception is actually fairly common among Jews.  I was able to remember Job 19:25-27 when I was speaking with her - here's that verse plus a few more for future reference:
  • Job 19:25-27 - For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.
  • Daniel 12:2 - And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
  • Isaiah 26:19 - Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.
  • Psalm 17:15 - As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.
  • Psalm 49:15 - But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave: for he shall receive me. Selah.
  • 1 Samuel 2:6 - The LORD killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up.
  • Hosea 13:14 - I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes.
Of course this is not an exhaustive list.  Is anything ever an exhaustive list?

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Salvation is Freely Available for All!

Salvation by grace through faith is the only way God can offer eternal life to everyone!  If salvation depended on performing some great physical or mental task, there would be some who could not attain it.  If salvation depended on how much money we had, there would be some who could not afford it.  Even if salvation depended on our good deeds, some would not be able to accomplish the required deeds before they died.  (The thief on the cross had his arms and legs nailed down)  No, but because salvation is through faith, anyone can obtain it in an instant of time.  How great is the love and mercy of our God which is poured out freely for all!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Christianity Cannot Be Forced

One of the reasons Christianity is unique is that since salvation is by faith in Christ, Christianity cannot be forced on anyone. I cannot put a gun to your head and make you believe in something. I can make you say a creed, perform a ritual, or do a "good deed", but none of those things will make you a Christian and save your soul from Hell. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

A Simple Prayer

What we do not know, teach us.
What we do not have, give us.
What we are not, cause us to be.