Sovereignty in the Life of Baby Moses

Exodus chapter 2 tells of the birth of Moses. Pharoah of Egypt had begun to see how the desendents of Jacob grew numerous and mighty. This was a new Pharoah who had not known Joseph and had no respect for his people. Out of political fear Pharoah began to oppress the Israelites and forced them to build with brick and mortar subduing them under tyranny to keep them from rising up or growing too powerful. However the Hebrews continued to grow and thrive.

The next step was a bloody one whereby Pharoah commanded that all male children born to Hebrew mothers were to be killed upon their birth by their Egyptian midwives. The midwives feared God and did not do so and lied to Pharoah about it. So the children of Israel multipled all the more.

Then a man of the tribe of Levi married a Levite woman and she bore him a son. But because she feared the Egyptians she placed him in a basket covered with pitch and placed the basket among the reeds of the Nile River. It so happened that the daughter of Pharoah came with her maidservants to bathe in the river where she spotted the basket with the child in it. She took pity on him and decided to resuce him. But she could not nurse him.

So she sent her maidservant to bring her one of the Hebrew women for she perceived that the babe was one of the Hebrews’ children. The maidservant brought a lady, but not just any lady. Unbeknowst to herself, as far as we know, the maidservant brought the child’s own mother. Pharoah’s daughter gave the child to his  mother so that she might nurse him until such time that he could come and live in Pharoah’s house.

How stunned the mother must have been! When she was summoned she may have even thought that her scheme had been found out. It would seem that God, in His purpose and foreknowledge, arranged for that child to be with his mother again during those early years. How much that must have blessed the mother. Or maybe Pharoah’s daughter somehow knew that this particular Levite woman was the mother and this was an act of mercy on her part. Either way the sovereignty of God in rescuing, protecting, and providing for Moses is clear.

And we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to His purpose…What then shall we say about these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8: 28, 31)

Josh H.

Stone of Remembrance

Setting up stones of remembrance is an idea that comes from the book of Joshua (chapter 4) when Joshua led the Israelites across the Jordan river. I have learned about stones or monuments of remembrance from my pastor Herb Dean and recently I heard R.C. Sproul speak on the topic as well.

When the Israelites were preparing to cross the Jordan over into Canaan (ie. the promised land), they were ordered by God to carry the Ark of the Convenant across. The problem was the Jordan had overflowed its banks and it was going to be dangerous for them to cross. Miraculously God stopped the flow of the Jordan the moment that the feet of the men carrying the Ark touched the water. Therefore the entire Jewish company crossed the Jordan on dry land. Afterward, God commanded that a man representing each tribe should take a stone from the bed of the Jordan and when they reached their lodging place they would build a memorial with those stones. And they were told that when their children ask what the memorial means the response will be “The waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark…when it passed over Jordan.”

This same type of memorial can and should be erected in a spiritual sense in the lives of new convenant believers. One such stone of remembrance that may be erected in one’s memory is the day you were saved. I can remember the day (or evening rather) that I was born again. It was when I attended a worship service at the Middle Georgia College BSU when I was taking classes there. In one fell swoop during a time of worship, prayer, and introspection, the Holy Spirit revealed that “walking of the aisle” I undertook in 9th grade was a farce and that I had done it because my peers in youth group did it (more particularly a girl I liked did it—lame). Since that time I had zero, ZERO, evidences in my life that I was a Christian.

However after that evening at BSU, I knew I was different. I didn’t suddenly become perfect or turn into the second coming of St. Augustine or anything. But I knew I was different and that something had happened to me. That is a moment in time when I can look back and say “God truly spoke to me. Regardless the whirlwind my life may be in the present, or how silent He seems to be now, God spoke to me in my hour of greatest need, namely when I realized I was a doomed sinner.”

I hope that 2009 will bring more opportunities for you to erect memorials of what the Lord is doing so that at some future time you will find comfort in the memory or be able to instruct others out of your experiences with God.

Josh H.

Christmas Under Attack by…Christians?

Every year around the holidays there seems to be this tired movement in the church whereby believers are encouraging others not to celebrate Easter and Christmas because of the pagan origins of those days. *yawn*

My good friend Matt recently wrote about this debate on his site Shared Ignorance. Rather than rehash my argument here, click the link and head over to Matt’s post about it and read my comment there. Leave a comment here or at Shared Ignorance letting me know what you think. Do agree with Matt and I? Disagree? Let’s hear it.

But I mean, taking the approach of some people we might as well do away with Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and yes Sunday, the names of which being taken from pagan names and ideas. Maybe we should change the days of the week to Petersday, Johnsday, Jamesday, Paulsday, Matthewsday (T.G.I.M.), Marksday and Jesusday. And don’t get me started on the months of the year. Johnuary? Paulgust?

Josh H.

Let Us See To Our Own House

I found the following disturbing “Nuze” on the Neal Boortz web site:

Teddy Kennedy returned to Capitol Hill yesterday. Glad he is able to do so. But it is no secret that he has one big fish to fry: socialized medicine. Teddy is already meeting with Senator Max Baucus, who just last week outlined his plan for universal health insurance. His plan is pretty similar to the one Barack Obama campaigned with, only Baucus’ plan would mandate that every American have health insurance. Don’t you just love the word “mandate?” That means the government … the taxpayers … are going to be stepping up in a big way to fund the dreams and schemes of Max Baucus, Ted Kennedy, and Barack Obama. How much are we talking? Try $75 billion in the first year alone. Within ten years, the tax payers will have forked over more than $1 trillion to follow through with a government mandate that all Americans be insured.”

Universal health care will be the death knell for freedom and self-reliance in this country. Liberal Socialists in Washington are going right for the jugular. The government already has much more power than it should but are we going to let them take away our responsibility and oversight of our own health!? Why would we trust the government and politicians who do not know us from Adam to make some of the most important decisions for us? Are we going to leave it up to them to decide for us whether money will go toward expensive drugs for the terminally ill or more healthcare for more people (because you can’t always have both especially when funds are limited)?

Here are some thoughts to consider:

“…my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Phil. 4:19

“But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denieth the faith, he is worse than an unbeliever.” 1 Tim. 5:8

When has scripture ever stated that the civil magistrate is responsible for caring for people’s needs? As a Christian I must rely on God for everything pertaining to life and Godliness. I can not, should not, and will not rely on the government for the things for which I am commanded to rely on God. And no, I do not think “do unto others”, or accounts of the book of Acts or any other Scripture supports Socialist policies like this one. The sharing of goods and funds among individuals, that is not mandated by legislation, is what the scriptures teach and come from a desire to serve Christ, not get elected. If the politicians who support universal healthcare really care about helping people, then they need to open their personal coffers and pour their money into Habitat for Humanity, the Salvation Army, Samaritan’s Purse, or just give their money directly to people they know who need it. But no, they have to make a political play out of it.

Barack Obama once criticized conservatives for calling him a Socialist and he stated that he did not understand folks who wanted “to make a virtue out of being selfish”. Conservatives simply want to be self-reliant and they want to be in charge of when their money goes toward helping others. The real self-centeredness here is liberals who attempt to use people and bribe them for their votes by dangling health care like a carrot before them. If you want to empower and help those people, then give them back their self-reliance and the means to be self-reliant.

Josh H.

Naiveté of St. Thomas Aquinas

I want to relate to you a short anecdote I heard today involving a great church saint.

Alongside Agustine, Martin Luther, and John Calvin, Thomas Aquinas is considered one of the greatest theologians and indeed one of the greatest thinkers who ever lived. R.C. Sproul has stated that he considers Aquinas among the five greatest theologians with of course Augustine, Luther, Calvin, and Jonathan Edwards being the other four. They each had their strengths and talents however if one looks to sheer magnitude of intellect, surely Thomas Aquinas would be at the top.

St. Thomas lived in the 13th century and became a monk of the Dominican order. His wealthy family disapproved of his entering the ministry and sought to stop him by kidnapping him and retaining him in the family castle (his father was a count…ah, ah, aaaah!! sorry). However while being detained in the family home he continued to don his habit and perform all of the duties of the Dominican order at the appointed times as though he were still at the abbey. Finally his mother, impressed with his zeal and dedication to God, helped him to escape. In true Pauline fashion she actually lowered him out of one of the castle windows in a basket. From there he returned to the ministry and began his formal study of theology and philosophy.

He entered the Dominican school in Cologne and studied under the tutelage of Albertus Magnus,Albert the Great. Now St. Thomas was not an attractive person being rather rotund, with big feet and an unusually large head. For those among us who have ever been teased because of their appearance or features, you know how hurtful this can be (because there is nothing you can do to change it). The other students would tease and mock him. They called him “the dumb ox.” How deceived they were. Once overhearing this prejorative Albert responded “You call him ‘a dumb ox,’ but I declare before you that he will yet bellow so loud in doctrine that his voice will resound through the whole world.”

We are told that Thomas was affable, kind, compassionate toward the poor, and meek. In addition there was a sort of naïve, trusting element to Thomas’s nature that may even be called gullibility. He believed what people would tell him especially those with whom he studied. You would think that eventually he would disbelieve anything they would tell him. But St. Thomas had an interesting way of looking at it. A glimpse into this (and perhaps the reason for his trusting) is evident in one occurrence that took place in the class room where he studied with the other students. One of his classmates, gazing out of the window, exclaimed “Thomas, come look! There is a cow flying!” Thomas rushed to the window to see this amazing sight. The laughter of the other students coming from behind him confirmed the deception. They could not believe his naiveté. Why would someone fall for such a gag? But Thomas turned and faced them and replied “I would rather believe that cows can fly than that my brothers would lie to me.” The laughter ceased at that point.

Josh H.

Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson

“Unto thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.  O my God, I trust in thee; let me not be ashamed, let not mine enemies triumph over me.” Psalm 25:1-2

b_jackson_and_hisIn my recent study of the War Between the States, I am astounded by Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson’s fearlessness in life and battle. On more than one occasion (in fact on every occasion of battle) he sat upon his small horse, Little Sorrell), and gazed over the battlefield giving his commands.  At dire times he would even pass in front of his troops giving them encouragement and spurring them on.  All this he would do while bullets and cannon fire were whizzing past.  His reason for this kind of behavior and fearlessness was not unusual bravery or courage but meekness. Knowing that God is sovereign and that nothing can thwart His plans, Jackson was convinced that he would not close his eyes in death until the proper God-ordained moment.  Seeing that his days are numbered and that he would not perish until God’s will determined it, he felt that he could roam as freely as he wished around the battlefield (or indeed through life itself) without fear of any enemy.

As a self-identified “worry wart” I have much to learn from Stonewall Jackson.  “There [stood] Jackson like a stone wall” not because the wall was built with such stern stuff but because it was reinforced on the back end by a mighty buttress, namely Almighty God and none could topple it unless the buttress ordained it so.

“Captain, my religious belief teaches me to feel as safe in battle as in bed. God fixed a time for my death; I do not concern myself about that, but to be always ready no matter when it may overtake me. Captain, that is the way all men should live and then all would be equally brave.” –Thomas Jackson

What a testimony of faith!  I am asking God to grant that I might walk in the kind of love and trust that casts out fear.  I want to be convinced that I will not fall, crash my car, be burglarized, have my finances fail, or undergo any other hardship, fatal or otherwise, unless it is squarely in the will of God.  And if and when such things do happen the reasons lie with God and are, frankly, none of my business.

Josh H.

God Strategically Placed Ebed-Melech

As I awoke this morning my clock radio had gone off and a radio Bible teacher was teaching from the book of the prophet Jeremiah. Jeremiah 38 chronicles a time during the reign of King Zedekiah of the nation of Judah. There was a grave threat from the Babylonians led by King Nebuchadnezzar whereby the Babylonian army was preparing to take Jerusalem. During this time the word of the Lord had come to Jeremiah that he should warn the nation that if they surrender to the Babylonians that God will spare them; after all it was because of their sin that God was bringing this judgment via Nebuchadnezzar army. This idea was despicable to the people of Judah and they attempted to do harm to Jeremiah.

jeremiahSome men of Judah hated this message so much that they took Jeremiah and threw him into a cistern (basically, a well). The king was aware that they were going to do something but he stated to them that he would not hinder whatever they did (I suppose, he had bigger Babylonian fish to fry) There was no more water in the well but there was a great deal of mud and so Jeremiah sank down into the mud. At this time an official of the royal palace named Ebed-Melech told the king of the wicked thing the men of Judah had done in throwing Jeremiah, a prophet, into the cistern. With the king’s blessing Ebed-Melech took some rope, some clothing for padding, and some other men and went to the cistern. He threw down the clothing and instructed Jeremiah to put the clothes under his arms as padding against the rope. Then he lowered the ropes, Jeremiah wrapped them under his arm and Ebed-Melech and his team pulled the prophet out.

The Bible teacher who was relating this on the radio (I believe it was Woodrow Croll) made an interesting statement that made me think that, since I just awakened, that I was hearing him incorrectly. But no, sure enough he said “God has His Ebed-Melechs strategically placed.” He went on to explain that for those God intends to rescue, He strategically places the right people and the right circumstances to accomplish His good and perfect ends. He is able to move all of the right pawns into place for His predetermined check mate.

God once check mated me with the use of one of His servants. In my second year of college I had made a wreck of things. I was performing poorly in my classes, I hadn’t been to church months and months, I was dating a worldly girl who had rubbed off on me considerably (not that I was any sort of angel before we met) and who I had just caught cheating on me, and I was questioning why I was doing any of it. That is to say, I wondered why I bothered with school, with getting out of bed, with anything since nothing went right for me. This was not because I was under some sort of conviction, but because I was so depressed and dejected as I sat in front of the college library.

A young man approached me and began talking to me. We didn’t know each other. He was there to meet his girlfriend. As we talked I discovered he was a Christian. I thought I was. I had been baptized once. That’s about as far as it went. The young man’s name was Jeremy Knighton. He offered a simple invitation to me to attend the evening worship service of the Baptist Student Union that nigt. I said I would try to be there if I could (not that I had anything else to do). His girlfriend arrived and they departed. It was so refreshing to meet someone who was so kind.

I did go that evening. Then I went to several more weekly meetings thereafter. At one particular meeting during a time of worship and personal prayer in which the band was playing in the background and folks all around me were praying, I began talking to God. That evening he brought me face to face with what I had become. The only way I was going to find my way out of that darkness was to follow the one who is the light of men (John 1:4-5). The one “who made lame beggars walk and blind men see.” That night I met God again for the first time. I turned my life over to him and I was changed from that moment forward. The direction of my thoughts changed, the direction of my musical aspirations changed, the desires of my heart changed.

It began when God, before all time, preordained that a modern day Ebed-Melech named Jeremy would be in front of that library on that particular day to say the things he said to me and extend that invitation. God changed my life from that moment forward. Perhaps you have come to the end of yourself and you stand face to face with your sin. You see that you have walked contrary to God and have acted according to the course of this world and you have reaped the rotten vile fruit of sin. Repent and live. As I learned, God is calling all men everywhere to repent. He strategically places His Ebed-Melechs (heck! Maybe in your case this article is an Ebed-Melech for you). Just take the rope.

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord and He will lift you up.

Josh H.

My Daily Reading of Proverbs

“The blessing of the Lord brings wealth,and he adds no trouble to it.”
Proverbs 10:22

My morning routine once I arrive to work is to log into my computer and then read a Psalm and a chapter of Proverbs. I have only recently started this practice and it has been extremely helpful to me. I have tried to really pay attention to what I am reading and see how I can apply that day. Sometimes I don’t finish because a particular verse will catch my attention and I will read and think about it. Today that happened again. [Read more…]

Guitar Praise: Yes, That Is What It Is Called

On moral grounds most Christians do not support cloning. Well, not the cloning of humans anyway. Enter: Guitar Praise by a company called Digital Praise (how cute). This new game, to be released later this month, grabs Guitar Hero by the chords and it catches it up to the third Heaven. That’s right, trade in that harp, grab yourself a Guitar Praise axe, and kerrang for the kross! I mean, cross.

I am a Christian who listens to Christian music only and I am familiar with all of the artists that have been included on the Guitar Praise game (though I am most definitely not a fan of them all). These artists for Guitar Praise range in style from acoustic pop (Caedmon’s Call) to teeny-bopper punk/pop (Superchick) to post-hardcore hard rock (Flyleaf and Spoken). Quite a gamut.

I am surprised by many of the artists on here [Read more…]

What Does Matthew 24 (The Olivet Discourse) Really Mean? Is It About the End Times?

Please read this and think about it. I know that some of you probably sigh and close your browser any time you see that I have written about eschatology. But I promise this will be short. I simply want to give you some food for thought. I am using the New International Version for all scriptures quoted here.

A conversation with a friend of mine has sparked new life in my interest in eschatology, the study of last things. This is an unfortunate term for the subject since my belief holds that most of the “end times” prophecies of scripture have already taken place. Now I will admit that I can not answer every objection that folks may have. I cannot explain every one of the signs of Revelation but there are some things for which I can boldly and unwaveringly give an answer. [Read more…]