His face to shine upon us

Psalm 67

This psalm is an encouraging psalm for us to praise God. It reminds us of what we are blessed with. We are blessed with a God that is merciful, that blesses us continuously and loves us. This psalm is written in behalf of that God that we serve. It is written on behalf of His glory that we all praise Him and be thankful that He is our God. He shines upon us. Through His love, grace and mercy He shines upon us all both the righteous and the unrighteous. As it says in Matthew 5:45, “ That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” God has no favorites. He treats us equally and shines upon us all. There are people who do not follow God that live longer and happier than we do. God blesses everyone because God is love. Unconditional love. If you think God’s love is what you are to earn then God’s love is actually what you need to relearn. God loves us all unconditionally no matter what.

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We experience His presence each and every day. We experience His still voice. It’s not everything that He does for us we are able to notice or see as the works of God. There are so many odd things that occur in our lives that takes us a while to see the benefits of. When we notice it we realize what God is doing for us or has done for us. That right there is God’s still voice.

Is it possible to quantify God’s love or mercy? No. It is not possible. It’s just like what God said to Abraham in Genesis 15:5, “And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.”.  So if you have something so big then it’s eligible to share with others. Verse 2 says, “ That thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving health among all nations.” So that all the people will praise thee, as it continues in verse 3. David is asking to let the truth, God’s principles, statutes and knowledge of salvation to be known upon all the earth. Give the people the understanding they need to know God and give them a reason to follow Him and praise Him. Let the people be glad in what they see. The truth that David wants to be shared is that God had the plan to sacrifice His Son for us so that all we would need to do it believe, be baptized and follow in Jesus Christ’s footsteps. Once we fulfill those things we will be blessed with salvation and a place in God’s Kingdom. That is a joyous deal the God is offering us.

Verse 4 tell us how God will judge the people righteously. When the time comes of the judgement seat, God is not looking for anyone perfect. He is looking for those with true faith. He is looking for the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen and the works to show it. Faith is nothing without works. After He finds what He is looking for He will then govern the nations upon earth. He will renew the earth and make it His Kingdom. We will all be converted into somewhat celestial beings and no longer have to suffer with the burden of sinful flesh. All darkness will be demolished. The earth shall yield her increase. What he is saying is that once the earth all knows of God’s plan, our purpose and God’s salvation it will increase fruitfully and God will bless us. Once God blesses us and brings His kingdom on this earth, every end of it shall fear Him.

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Do you believe in resurrection?

John 11

So the question for today is, Do you believe in resurrection? Well first, lets look at the meaning of it which is to revive something or to be brought back to life. But in our case, as of speaking in the terms of Christianity or Christadelphianism, the word resurrection is described by three main events. Two that has already happened and one that is prophesied of happening in the future.

But there are also other resurrections in the Bible that we can look at pertaining to the plain definition of resurrection which is being risen from the dead. From these examples, we can see that it is possible to be brought back to life. The first resurrection was when Elijah was sent to meet a widow in 1 Kings 17:17-24(elaborate after reading).

Then there was Elisha. In this chapter we are about to examine, there were three miracles and one of them was resurrection. In 2 Kings 4:8-36 is when the resurrection happened. There was a very nice woman who Elisha met. He always visited her when passed by to have bread. After she noticed how often he came to visit she spoke with her husband and they decided to make an extra room in their house for Elisha to stay in when he passes by. Because of how kind she was, Elisha wanted to know if he can do her a favor for what she did for him. The only thing she was lacking was a son. So by the grace and power of God, Elisha made it happen that she gave birth to a son. A few years later, the son became sick with a headache and died in his mother’s arms. Elisha was not there at the house at that moment. So she journeyed to where he was and he came and brought the son back to life. What is very interesting in this story is that as soon as the son died she had faith that God would be able to bring the boy back to life. She was so faithful that when Elisha asked how everyone is she answered and said it is well. We see a little vexation there when she says that she told them not to deceive her but she still did show much faith.

Those are two examples of the what resurrection was in the Old Testament. In the New Testament there were a few more resurrections done in the same manner. These resurrections were done for the glory of God. It was done to show who He is and show what He is capable of it. But resurrection has a larger meaning.

The first event of resurrection that relates to the higher meaning of it was after the death of Lazuras. Lazuras was a man that was loved compassionately by Jesus Christ. As we see, starting from the shortest verse in the Bible, in verse 35 Jesus wept and from that the Jews saw how much He loved Lazuras. Jesus then had them remove the stone of the sepulchre and He brought Lazarus back to life using the shared power of God. Because as we see in the latter verses, He spoke to God thanking Him for hearing Him and allowing Him to do this miracle.

The second event of resurrection that is important is the resurrection of Jesus Christ. During the week it was part of the daily readings to read the ending of the book of Luke which includes the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. So I’ll be using this gospel. Beginning in chapter 23 is where we see when he was brought in front of Pilot and Herod and they were not able to find any fault in him. But the chief priests and the people around them cried saying, “Crucify Him, Crucify Him.” They then convinced Pilot to let go of another man that was imprisoned and to sentence Jesus Christ to death. In chapter 24 is where we see the resurrection occur. As we see in the beginning of this chapter, people were going to the sepulchre where the body of Jesus was placed and they saw that the stone was missing and that it was empty. In verse 15 is where we see Jesus appeared in front of them. They did not recognized Him at first. It was until they broke bread that their eyes were opened and they realized that the prophecy came true. Jesus proved to them that it did. The second time that he appeared, He had them touch His hands to show that He truly was risen from the dead. Resurrected.

This was the fulfillment of something that was prophesied from the very beginning. As is says at the beginning of the book of John. In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. In Hebrews 11:17 we can see that Abraham was even told of the plan God had for Jesus Christ(elaborate after reading). So was Isaiah in Isaiah 53:8-10(elaborate after reading) and also Job in Job 19:25-27(elaborate after readin). But it doesn’t end there. There are also earlier prophecies or events that related to Jesus Christ and we see that because He told the disciples about all of them as we see in Luke 24:25-27.

From these two events of resurrection we can see resurrection being explained to us and also see the setting up for more resurrection to be done. If we look back at John 11:4, Jesus knew the reason for the death of Lazarus. As He tells the people, it was done for the Glory of God that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.  It was for the people to see and believe the power of God and to understand more about what was planned to happen in the future. God wanted them to fully understand the reason and plan for Jesus Christ. Verse 25 says it more clearly. He tells them that if you die as Lazarus did and you believe in Him then you will live again. You will be resurrected. Also, if you believe in Him and are not dead when He returns, then you will stay alive and will never die. That last part emphasized on the important factor in this matter. Not only will you be risen from the dead but you will never die again. You will live eternal life. That right there is the difference between the miracles of bringing people to life and THE RESURRECTION. We can also see the reason for the wordplay in the Bible of when instead of saying death it uses the word sleep. That is because, thanks to the hope we have through Jesus Christ, when we die it is temporary.

That was the whole reason for Christ’s death. God sacrificed His only begotten Son for us to have a place in His Kingdom when He returns. Jesus played His role and lived His life perfectly without sin so that his blood would cover the sins of all men that has ever lived. Paul the apostle saw how important the resurrection was and why it needed to happen. Without it happening, how else would God’s plan come true and for what reason would Jesus Christ have been sacrificed. I Corinthians 15:12-18.

That is why as we live now, we are to live our lives according to God’s Will if it is that we want a place in God’s Kingdom. He has given us an opportunity that is all set up for us. We just have to now play our role before our time comes to die. We don’t know how much longer we have left. We don’t know when is our time to die or when is the time for Christ’s return. So we have to start from now to make a change and begin to believe and follow His statutes. The Bible tells us to believe and be baptized. When we are baptized we are symbolically resurrected with Jesus Christ. Out with the old, in with the new as it says in Romans 6:1-4.

Now this whole concept of living according to the Will of God and being baptized brings out another important factor that is attached to resurrection. It’s pretty much part of it’s meaning when you look at the big picture. That factor is judgement.   Judgment is the decision making part of the process of who will be given eternal life and who will be given eternal damnation. It is impossible for us to fully know who will be entering the Kingdom and who will not. Those decisions are all in the hands of God.

All we know is that the responsible are those who will be risen and judged for eternal life or damnation. The responsible are those who know of God. So if you know God then the question is what did you decide? Did you follow Him or did you follow the ways of man? So just because you know of Him does not mean that you will be placed in the Kingdom. What it means is that once you know of Him you will be judged and the after that is when you will see the results.

Those that are not responsible will not be risen. As Isaiah said, in Isaiah 26:13-14(other references Jer 51:57; Psa 49:19,20), that the other lords shall not rise again. So from that we can say that is obvious for some. If you don’t follow God, then its an absolute no. But who are we to judge who are the responsible or who is no the responsible. Only God truly knows. He sees us through our hearts and we are only able to see each other from outside appearance.

So, from all this information we first saw that it is possible for God to be able to bring someone from the dead as we looked at the examples in the Old Testament and a few on them in the New Testament. What He gives, He can take away and what He takes away, He can give.

We also saw that God had a plan and Jesus Christ was the key to that plan. We saw how early that plan was made and how it was fulfilled. But there is more to the plan that we are now here waiting for. That plan is THE RESURRECTION and the coming of God’s Kingdom. So there’s no reason not to believe it. It’s possible and God’s plans are proven to be true and fulfilling. So why no we just do our role, and as I said before, believe and be baptized.

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Why Christadelphians Don’t Vote

Daniel 4

 

In these states, as an American, we’re somewhat subject to being attentive and if possible participants to politics. We as Americans are to stand for our country and support it as the top country of the world! We are to salute our flag and say the pledge of Allegiance with our hands on our heart (say the pledge) giving ourselves for the nation we are part of. Raise Your hand if you agree that that is what America is about? Or how it is to be an American?

Well I have another question. What is a religion? a religion includes creed, code cultus and community. Creed is our belief, code are rules, cultus is for rituals and practices and community is the group of people who follow along or believe the same thing. do you believe America is a great nation? do you follow the rules so you can, I guess you can say, live the American dream and not be put in jail? And when you go to watch a baseball games or any other such occasion like in the morning at school, do you say the pledge of allegiance? Do you celebrate the 4th of July? and lastly won’t you consider these states a huge community? So how does this differ from a religion? That’s just something to think about as we continue with this subject.

As Christadelphians we believe that we are not the ones to vote. This is a subject that wasn’t touched too many times and there might be a few of us here that actually do vote. So from that we can see that there are two views on it. And that isn’t good at all. We are supposed to be one body and united in the ways we serve the Lord. As is says in Psalms 133:1 it is pleasant to dwell together in unity. (Romans 12:5). Without this unity we may fall. So today i’m gonna try my best to cover both and settle the reason for this belief as Christadelphians.

For those who do not vote, it is explained right here in the chapter we have just read of Daniel’s interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. In verse 17 it clearly tells him that God, “the most High ruleth in the Kingdom of men , and giveth it to whomsoever He will, and setting up over it the basest of man.” So what is that telling us? Its telling us that the one who is to rule this world is God and only God. And God was trying to get Nebuchadnezzar to understand that. And also to get us to understand it. That is why this story is here in the Bible available to us. it doesn’t matter if we have a President. What matters is who is our leader and who are we following. The only need we really have for a President is to keep things in order. We need a little leadership for that. But when it comes to decisions, yes, its his responsibility to make them but are they decisions we would make as believers in God?

If you can find a president who can go through all four years and follow along with God’s Will in the decisions made then fine, go ahead and vote. because when we vote we are saying we fully support and believe in what that man will make happen. If you voted for Obama and don’t support gay marriage, why did you vote for him in the first place? That makes you partially responsible for people having the ability to betray God. Our job is to bring them closer to God and convert them to believe in Him. Not to push them further. Look what happened in the next chapter of Daniel when Nebuchadnezzar’s son didn’t understand what God told his father. he worshipped all kinds of gods and of course seeing he’s king so did his people of the land. So he’s pushing them away from God. He’s being an adversary:a stumbling block for the people of Babylon. And when it comes to things like abortion and gay marriage you never know their full view on it before they’re elected because they just say things that are “politically correct” or things that will just make you want to vote for them. So that shows they are not trustworthy. Psalms 19:7-9 is where we see how trustworthy God is. And this part of our religion is a part that would strengthen our faith and to show more of our faith. As it says in the book of James 2:17 “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.” So if we believe and have faith that God is our Ruler and if anyone is needed to be placed on this earth to do anything that He would choose and send that person, just as He did before for us with his son, then we should show that faith by not taking it in our own hands and faithfully leaving it up to God to do His Works. And you want to see it then make your faith your eyes. Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. Its only with faith can we see the greatness of God.

There are some of you who may think that we as Christadelphians should take a stand and use this voting ability to make the best man win so that this nation will not go in chaos and against God’s Will. we need someone we can trust to keep things peaceful. well voting will be unneeded if that is what you want. Psalms 146:3-4 tells us, “Put not your trust in princes” because he “is no help.” And the rest of the chapter reminds us of the greatness of God and how man is no help compared to Him.

Our full trust should be in God and He will chose for us who to be President as we read in the book of Daniel. Also, in I Samuel when Israel asked God for a king, God was upset because they wanted to serve a man rather than God. do we want to make the same mistake as them and make God even more angry? And God has already chosen someone to be our leader and that is His Son Jesus Christ. It is already planned for His return and for Him to lead us. If we go back into the book of Daniel chapter 2, we see the interpretation of an earlier dream with the statue of Babylon and how each level of it was made with different material. It was the Babylonian empire, the Medo-Persian empire, the Greece empire, the Roman empire and then the toes and feet which represented diverse kingdoms combined. Each Kingdom was defeated and then we see the stone in verses 34 and 35 which says,”…”. This represents the Kingdom of God being placed on the earth. So we already have a leader coming. And if there is already someone chosen then there is no need to vote. We all have to be careful what we get ourselves into. As I said at the beginning being American can be considered as a religion; a civil religion. Are you sure you have God first in your life? When you say the pledge of allegiance or celebrating the 4th of July are you honoring America for it’s greatness or are you honoring God for bringing us all to where we are today?

Lastly, I’m sure it’s a bit confusing on how we don’t believe in voting but yet soon we’ll be having our own election going on in church. To me voting dealing with politics and voting in this church are completely different. When we vote for a recording brother or the arranging brethren, we’re not voting for someone to be our master and follow along everything he decides. When we vote for a recording brother we’re voting for someone to keep things in decency and in order as the Bible says for us to do in 1 Corinthians 14:40, to keep record of whatever goes on and to also be part of the arranging brethren. As Christadelphians, to make a decision we are to first bring it to God and follow His Word to make sure we are not disobeying Him. That means God is still our Leader. And we do a vote because not all the time do we get volunteers for most positions. As children of God we should have just volunteers for each position. It should be in our hearts that we have a mission to keep this group/community united in fellowship with God. But we are not all perfect and some of us may need a little push and encouragement. So , hopefully my views on that is correct, but it is and should be the reason why we have voting in our church. Thank you.🙂

http://www.bible-knowledge.com/bible-verses-on-faith/

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Boundaries of the Flesh

As children of God we should remember our blessings just like the song we love to sing, Count your blessings. And the thing that is a very great and loving blessing that God has given us is our body and as His children our bodies are temples.  Just like how its said in I Corinthians 6:19, “What? know ye not that your body is a temple of the Holy Ghost (Spirit) which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” and verse 20 says, “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” So as believers and followers of God, after we are baptized we take that step to follow God and give our lives to Him or should I say give back to Him. And from these verses we can see that we should take care of our bodies for the LORD. The same way how we are to have a pure mind, we are also to keep our bodies pure as it says in one of my favorite verses Philippians 4:8, “Finally, bretheren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are PURE, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue and if there be any praise, think on these things.” This is a perfect verse to let us know what action is eligible to please the LORD. That’s an important verse that we should always keep on our mind. And if we need something more specific to the topic we are dealing with today, we can go back to I Corinthians 10:31 which says, “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” So we can see that eating and drinking is included and that its possible to please God when we do so. When we look at a huge delicious burger and we say “ yea I could eat that, it won’t do too much harm. I ate a lot of vegetables or fruits this morning.” notice we’re only wanting to know what’ll please ourselves and not God. I would put this in the idolatry category. We all have a weakness for snacks and overeating sometimes. So we all need to be careful with that. There are many things that we don’t notice as soon as we eat things, but our bodies are abused by the food we eat. These days its hard to know whether food is fully healthy or not. But again, it is important to do our best in eating healthy. Same thing Daniel did in the Daniel 11:11 when he wanted a pulse and water and refused the food everyone else was eating and also what I think God was leading the Israelites into doing when He gave the laws of not eating unclean animals. What medical practice did they have back then? The same animals they were not told to eat that we eat today are affecting us tremendously. Pork is rising the heart attacks, many people are allergic to shrimp and also others get sick from seafood and other foods because the food isn’t clean. Most of the time that is just because of the animal’s lifestyle it’s just not cool to eat them. The bad thing about this is that unclean animals seem to be America’s favorite food. And that right there is how you know it isn’t good for you. Because in general terms, what humans like best is sin. Whatever is your favorite action, food or place it is always good to question yourself and ask why you like it so much and if it’s good for you. You may like football but that is only because it gives you a chance to innocently beat up people, you may like this beautiful restaurant but it’s not because of the food, it’s because of the beautiful waitress that works there and you may think you love pork or fast food for its beautiful taste but its actually just your body begging for it because of how much you’ve ate it so far. Eating healthy is what God wants us to do. And you can see it in many ways as you read the Bible.

Besides eating healthy there are other things we have to be careful and aware of concerning our body. One thing we definitely shouldn’t do is drugs. That’s not a good thing for us at all. Even medications aren’t that good. There’s a saying, “Medications don’t solve problems, they replace them.” And that to me is a fact. Especially after my experience with medications. I remember they tried three or four on me during the whole experience I had with my tumor. One of them they let me stop using because it did its job but just gave me more headaches and the one that they kept me on also did its job but had even more side effects. And I don’t know if you remember me being a bit chubby, but the medications made me gain weight and also each time you take a medication you have to eat something, so I took advantage of that. Every night i waited a long time after dinner to take it so I should have a good excuse to have a snack. So that made me fall into the food idolatry trap myself.

Now, of course we all know about the conditions of drug addicts and how they end up unhealthy and sick after doing drugs. I mean, we are suffering also. When we walk the street its not always easy to get fresh air. There are areas in which you have to hold your breath while you pass because so many people are smoking. And that’s a double violation. You’re doing something bad for yourself and also being a stumbling block for others. People are suffering from second hand smoking which is worse than smoking. I read a small article about it from a Cleveland Clinic website and it explains it. It said, “The smoke that burns off the end of a cigarette or cigar actually contains more harmful substances than the smoke inhaled by the smoker. This means that people who don’t smoke but are regularly around those who smoke are exposed to the health risks of cigarette smoking.” And that shouldn’t be done as we see in Romans 14:13 as it says, “Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling block or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.”

There is also another scent that flows through our nostrils as we walk the streets and that’s weed. And there are actually many people who do not see that as something bad. Even for a Christian. They would ask if God made it why can’t we smoke it? If we look back at Genesis Chapter 3:17-18 we see how Adam, Eve, the serpent and all the land was cursed because of man’s mistake. Thorns and thistles and all sorts of changes were made because of that. If you touch a thorn you get pain, if you go in front of a hungry lion he’ll eat you. These were not part of the system when God created it and said it is all good. So there is no proof of whether that was made at creation or developed after the curse. The fall of man is what brought sin, impurity and confusion. And we should all know that is not how God made things in the Garden of Eden. In I Corinthians 14:33, it tells us, “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.” And of course we may all think the Bible does not speak about drugs but it actually does. And from this we will see that God does not like things like mind-altered drugs. If we look at Galatians 5:19-21 it says, “now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing and thing like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that these who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” And in these verses is the word sorcery which in Greek translation means pharmakeia and in English that means pharmacy which is “the practice and making of drugs vitamins, spell-giving potions or alchemical potions believed to have transforming powers, such as the power to extend life, boost energy, or enhance the mind.” So that also might give a little “no no” to energy drinks or too much coffee.

And speaking about drinks, another mind-altering drug is alcohol. And the Bible as we already know it tells us directly that drunkenness is not acceptable. We already saw that in the verses we read in Galatians and we could also see it in other verses there explains the un acceptance of mind-altered drugs. We have examples of people who have gotten drunk and because of that unintentionally did foolish things. Like when Lot got drunk and without knowing he slept with his daughters and even in Joel 3:3 people sold their children for possession of wine. See how crazy it makes you? And in Proverbs 23:31-35 it gives a good overall warning of not to get drunk, “Do not gaze at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it goes down smoothly! in the end it bites like a snake and poisons like a viper. Your eyes will see strange sights and your mind imagine confusing things. You will be like one sleeping on the high seas, lying on top of the rigging. “They hit me,” you will say, “But I’m not hurt! They beat me, but I don’t feel it! When will I wake up so I can find another drink?” Now what type of thinking is that?! We also have to remember when we read those verses in Genesis about what God made is good, is that God made it for good but man turned it into evil. Just like sex, its bad before marriage but good after. God’s idea is the good one, man’s idea is the bad one.

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