Lesley’s Lagniappe ~ 9-16-14

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Feelings Are Real, But Are They Always the Truth?- I just feel like you should read this.

Pig in a Blanket- Awww, check out this cute little piggie and his cookie.

What the Bible Teaches About Spanking- In the wake of an NFL player’s arrest, Denny Burk has a phenomenal set of resources for us.

Top 10 Christian Songs that Also Work as Parodies of Christian Songs- I hardly remember most of these, but it’s still funny.

Anti-Theft Device- I wonder if this would work in America…

Three Questions To Help Diagnose Possible Football Idolatry- “Wherever there is a consuming passion for anything that is not God there is the danger of idolatry. And football is certainly a consuming passion for many in this country.”

Debunking the “Holy Ghost” Movie- If you’re thinking about seeing the new movie “Holy Ghost,” or if you’re into the signs and wonders/words of knowledge thing, you really need to check this out. Also, thanks to my friend Christine over at Sola Sisters for this awesome plethora of resources along the same lines.

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Blog Swap ~ Helpmeet Defined

blog swap

It’s time for another awesome blog swap! Blog swaps give me the opportunity to share other talented bloggers with you, plus offer you fresh content that’s a great supplement to our regular fare here. If you’d like to do a swap, click on the link above for more information.

Today, we’re swapping with Kaylene of Faithful FeatKaylene has written some insightful articles about marriage that will be especially helpful to Christian wives.

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God did not create the woman of lesser value, but rather values her equal to the man. He created the woman as a counterpart to the man, not a doormat, slave or possession.

Click here to continue reading, and don’t forget to subscribe and follow Faithful Feat on social media!

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Dem Bones ~ Sunday School Lesson ~ 9-14-14

Dem BonesThese are my notes from my ladies’ Sunday School class this morning. I’ll be posting the notes from my class here each week. Click here for last week’s lesson.

Through the Bible in 2014 ~ Week 37 ~ Sep. 7-13
Ezekiel 35-48, Joel
Dem Bones

And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, [Jesus] interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. Luke 24:27

The most beautiful thing about the Old Testament is that Jesus’ fingerprints are all over it. The imagery and symbolism displaying His life and the gospel pop out from the least expected places to surprise and delight us. And at the same time we see the “far,” New Testament application, of Old Testament passages, we can also see the “near,” or immediate application the passage has for the Bible characters the story is literally happening to. It’s like getting two lessons in one.

Ezekiel 37:1-14

Something Old
God sent this vision to Ezekiel the night before the messenger came with word of the fall of Jerusalem. The people of Israel were devestated and fearful, and this vision was meant to comfort and reassure them.

The valley (1) represented the areas of the world to which Israel and Judah had been (or would shortly be) exiled. As the skeletons were scattered all over the valley, so God’s people were scattered in various parts of the world.

The bones (2-3, 11) are a picture of death. With exile impending, Israel felt that all hope was dead and gone. The fact that the bones in the valley were “very dry” means that they had been there for quite a while, just as Isael would be in exile for seventy long years. It was the death of life as they knew it.

The prophecy (4-10, 12-14, Jeremiah 3:12, Isaiah 54:8, Psalm 30:5) this time, after so many prophecies of God’s coming wrath, was a prophecy of hope and restoration. God would breathe the breath of life and hope back into Israel. He would raise them up out of the grave of those pagan lands and resurrect them to a new life back in the Promised Land.

Go, and proclaim these words toward the north, and say, “‘Return, faithless Israel, declares the Lord. I will not look on you in anger, for I am merciful, declares the Lord; I will not be angry forever. (Jer.)

In overflowing anger for a moment I hid my face from you, but with everlasting love I will have compassion on you,” says the Lord, your Redeemer. (Is.)

For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning. (Ps.)

What a kind and compassionate God! He justly executes judgment, but graciously forgives sin when His people repent.

Something New
The first layer of our lesson today was the “near” application– the literal, immediate application to Israel. From that, we’ve learned that God will not tolerate idolatry, that He is patient with His children, but does discipline them, and that He is merciful and forgiving towards Israel.

The second layer of the story is the “far,” or New Testament layer. It takes those attributes of God and redemption that we’ve just learned about in Israel’s story and shows us how Jesus “fleshed them out.”

The valley (1) could be anywhere. People are scattered over the whole earth just the way the bones were scattered across the valley.

The bones (2-3, 11, Ephesians 2:1-2a, John 15:16; 6:44, Hebrews 11:6, Romans 6:23) are people who are still dead in sin and have never come to repentant faith in Jesus Christ.

Let’s take a look at Ephesians 2:

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked.

Prior to salvation, we are spiritually dead. Just like a corpse can’t move, act, think, or decide, we can’t do anything to choose God (Jn. 15), or please Him (Heb.), or decide on our own to get saved (Jn. 6).

And not only are we spiritually dead during our time on earth, but eternal death awaits us when our earthly lives are over (Rom.). Without Christ, we are born dead, live dead, and die unto eternal death.

Gives you kind of a hopeless feeling (like the Israelites had) doesn’t it?

The prophecy (4-10, 12-14, Matthew 13:57, John 11:25-26; 3:6-7; 16:7; 20:22, 2 Timothy 3:16, Romans 6:4, Ephesians 2:4-7, 2 Corinthians 1:22)
Just like God sent the prophet Ezekiel -“Son of Man” (God calls him this 93 times)- to his people with the good news of the hope of new life, He sent His Son -also called the “Son of Man” (87 times in the New Testament)- the greatest prophet (Matt.), not just to proclaim the good news of new life, but to become that good news by giving His life on the cross so that we might not die, but live.

Verse 6 says: And I will lay sinews upon you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live, and you shall know that I am the Lord.”

At Lazarus’ tomb, “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (Jn. 11)

Just as Ezekiel prophesied to the bones (7-10) and they were born again from the dead, Jesus preached, “You must be born again.” (Jn. 3:7). And just as the bodies in verse 8 were fully fleshed out but had no spirit in them, Jesus said, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” (Jn. 3:6)

Ezekiel prophesied to the breath and it entered the dead bodies and brought them to life. You may have a footnote in your Bible on the word “breath” in verse 5, 6, 9, or 10 that says “or spirit.” The Hebrew (the Old Testament was written in Hebrew) word ruah is the same for “breath” or “spirit.”

In John 16, Jesus prophesied to His disciples that the Holy Spirit would come and fill them: “Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.”

And in John 20: “…he [Jesus] breathed on them [the disciples] and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”

Interestingly, the Greek (the New Testament was written in Greek) word pneuma means both “spirit” and “breath.” You probably recognize this Greek word as the root of our English word “pneumonia,” a disease of the lungs, or “breath.” The branch of theology that deals with the study of the Holy Spirit is called pneumatology. When 2 Timothy 3:16 says, “All Scripture is inspired by God…” the word translated “inspired” is theopneustos, or God (theo) breathed (pneustos). It is not until the Holy Spirit, the breath of life, enters us that we are “raised to walk in newness of life.” (Rom.)

As God said to Israel in verses 13-14, “And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves, and raise you from your graves, O my people. And I will put my Spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I am the Lord; I have spoken, and I will do it, declares the Lord.”

so He says to us in Ephesians 2, “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”

“and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.” (2 Cor.)

Something Borrowed, Just for You
We have seen the “near” application to the Israelites, and the “far” application to the gospel, so what is the “now” application for us? What can we “borrow” from this passage to do in our own walk with the Lord?

We are to follow in the footsteps of Ezekiel and Jesus and preach (share) the gospel of the resurrection to new life to dry, dead bones, and pray God to do His mighty work of raising sinners from the dead.

Can these bones live? Oh, Lord God, You know.

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10 Fun, Practically Effortless, and Free Ways to Do Missions and Evangelism ~ at Satisfaction Through Christ

stc missions 1…The Great Commission. It is Christ’s mandate to all Christians to preach the gospel, clearly and verbally, as often as we can, everywhere. Some of the most important ways we can do this are sharing the gospel with our friends and loved ones, praying for our missionaries, and giving missions offerings at church. But while you’re doing these things, did you know that there are a lot of other little ways you can get involved in missions and evangelism?

Want to do more to share the gospel? Come on over to Satisfaction Through Christ and check out my new article, 10 Fun, Practically Effortless, and Free Ways to Do Missions and Evangelism.

What are some of your favorite ways
to participate in missions and evangelism?

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Throwback Thursday ~ Never Forget…

Originally Published September 11, 2013

9-11neverforgetNever forget.

We will remember.

The words jump off the page, off the screen, from our lips. A haunting breath whispering of unspeakable tragedy and heart rending grief.

The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 did something to this country. It changed our history. It changed us.

It was a despicable act of cruelty. People innocent of any crime against their executioners were brutally slaughtered in service to a god who demands the death of infidels.

It was egregious. Horrific. Abominable. And we will never forget. Nor should we.

Do this in remembrance of Me.

The words lie quietly on the page, beckoning us back to another day. A day dusty with the passing of centuries. But it changed our history. It changed us.

It was a despicable act of cruelty. Jesus, innocent of any crime, was brutally slaughtered by executioners serving a God who demands the death of infidels.

But this was no infidel. This was no innocent victim dying needlessly and for no one. This was God Himself laying down His life to take the place of the infidel. You. Me. He satisfied His own wrath against us by pouring it out on His Son.

The cross drove a stake into the heart of sin and death that day and shouted across the expanse of creation, “NO MORE.”

It was egregiously beautiful. A horrific triumph. Abominably liberating. And we will never forget. Nor should we.

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Wednesday’s Word ~ Jeremiah 14

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Jeremiah 14

The word of the Lord that came to Jeremiah concerning the drought:

“Judah mourns,
    and her gates languish;
her people lament on the ground,
    and the cry of Jerusalem goes up.
Her nobles send their servants for water;
    they come to the cisterns;
they find no water;
    they return with their vessels empty;
they are ashamed and confounded
    and cover their heads.
Because of the ground that is dismayed,
    since there is no rain on the land,
the farmers are ashamed;
    they cover their heads.
Even the doe in the field forsakes her newborn fawn
    because there is no grass.
The wild donkeys stand on the bare heights;
    they pant for air like jackals;
their eyes fail
    because there is no vegetation.

“Though our iniquities testify against us,
    act, O Lord, for your name’s sake;
for our backslidings are many;
    we have sinned against you.
O you hope of Israel,
    its savior in time of trouble,
why should you be like a stranger in the land,
    like a traveler who turns aside to tarry for a night?
Why should you be like a man confused,
    like a mighty warrior who cannot save?
Yet you, O Lord, are in the midst of us,
    and we are called by your name;
    do not leave us.”

10 Thus says the Lord concerning this people:
“They have loved to wander thus;
    they have not restrained their feet;
therefore the Lord does not accept them;
    now he will remember their iniquity
    and punish their sins.”

11 The Lord said to me: “Do not pray for the welfare of this people. 12 Though they fast, I will not hear their cry, and though they offer burnt offering and grain offering, I will not accept them. But I will consume them by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence.”

13 Then I said: “Ah, Lord God, behold, the prophets say to them, ‘You shall not see the sword, nor shall you have famine, but I will give you assured peace in this place.’” 14 And the Lord said to me: “The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I did not send them, nor did I command them or speak to them. They are prophesying to you a lying vision, worthless divination, and the deceit of their own minds. 15 Therefore thus says the Lord concerning the prophets who prophesy in my name although I did not send them, and who say, ‘Sword and famine shall not come upon this land’: By sword and famine those prophets shall be consumed. 16 And the people to whom they prophesy shall be cast out in the streets of Jerusalem, victims of famine and sword, with none to bury them—them, their wives, their sons, and their daughters. For I will pour out their evil upon them.

17 “You shall say to them this word:
‘Let my eyes run down with tears night and day,
    and let them not cease,
for the virgin daughter of my people is shattered with a great wound,
    with a very grievous blow.
18 If I go out into the field,
    behold, those pierced by the sword!
And if I enter the city,
    behold, the diseases of famine!
For both prophet and priest ply their trade through the land
    and have no knowledge.’”

19 Have you utterly rejected Judah?
    Does your soul loathe Zion?
Why have you struck us down
    so that there is no healing for us?
We looked for peace, but no good came;
    for a time of healing, but behold, terror.
20 We acknowledge our wickedness, O Lord,
    and the iniquity of our fathers,
    for we have sinned against you.
21 Do not spurn us, for your name’s sake;
    do not dishonor your glorious throne;
    remember and do not break your covenant with us.
22 Are there any among the false gods of the nations that can bring rain?
    Or can the heavens give showers?
Are you not he, O Lord our God?
    We set our hope on you,
    for you do all these things.

 

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.

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Lesley’s Lagniappe ~ 9-9-14

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The Swedish Method- Tim Challies has a great Bible study method for us.

22 Facts About Sleep Infographic- Some enlightening bedtime reading material. Sweet dreams!

Lies Ministry Wives Believe- Are you a ministry wife like me? Take a deep breath, and take comfort.

10 Religious Liberties Students Need to Know- You might be surprised at just how many religious liberties public school students still have.

Speedy Tortoise- Look at him go!

The Marriage Bed for the Exhausted Wife- Some godly counsel for all of us who have ever been tired.

Christ Did Not Die for You to Do Keg Stands- A godly response to alcohol consumption for Christian college students.

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