Taking the Epistle

A biblical journey through the epistles

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When football clubs become voices of political ideals and religion


When football clubs become voices of political ideals and religion

For my US readers I am talking about (Soccer) football…

This blog is a strange one coming from me as I do not usually go into current affairs (with the exception of a few posts about Scottish Independence) and I am even curious whether this post will even reach the blogosphere after I type it. The reason for this is because simply that this is not the reason why God pressed on my heart to use my writing and it is not the reason for this website. The reason for this website is to do bible studies and get some doctrine out there that will help people find their messiah Jesus Christ, not to discuss something that will probably blow over in five minutes.

That being said, I am a product of the West Central Scotland where the names “Rangers” and “Celtic” are much more than football clubs. There is a traditional mentality (right or wrong) that the two sets of customers for supporting of these Scottish Football institutions should be separated by denomination. That the Rangers are only for the Protestants (or Proddies in West Scotland slang) and Celtic was “the Catholic club”. (Which I find ironic as “Catholic in its truest sense means universal”)

Why did I write this?

Celtic are coming in for criticism for their display against the Israeli team Haepol Beer Sheva where many of their most vociferous fans held up Palestinian flags and have since fell foul of the UEFA rule that states the following…

“The European governing body’s rules prohibit the use of “any message that is not fit for a sports event, particularly messages that are of a political, ideological, religious, offensive or provocative nature”.”

And to use a phrase of my new homeland the USA “This is not their first rodeo” because they have been looked at EIGHT times and found to be wanting based on UEFA’s guidelines for supporter conduct.

I know the folks that want to diss Celtic at any costs will bring up past behaviors’ such as flying the flag of the Irish Republic, other dubious flags, singing songs of Irish history that would be classified as “rebel” or “dubious” really won’t help in this discussion and I know that people will want to draw a IRA-PLO link that may or may not be there but the nuts and bolts of it is Celtic are a business, a business that has had a drop in attendance due to Rangers being liquidated and starting again in the 4th tier.

They have had 5 years of the league not having much of a challenge and the company side of Celtic could really do with not alienating potential clients and there are many who do not have the stomach to hear terrorist songs or political displays. I know the guys in the Green Brigade could not care less about the plc’s bottom line but they would do well to remember the pre Fergus McCann days where the team was almost wound up with a crumbling stadium and mounting debts, Celtic were technically insolvent.

Fast forward to present and they now have 60,000 seats in a decent stadium that 95% of the seats offer a decent view. If they ever brought up the main stand to the same level as the rest of the stadium they would have around 80,000 (potentially more with the introduction of safe standing) and all the seats would then have an excellent view due to the offending support pillars no longer being needed. However that is unlikely to happen if the team continues in a league with no discernable title challenger. As stated previously they are not filling their current stadium so why spend millions building more seats.

It’s just banter!

Some will dismiss this as banter, such as “Argentina” chants when a Scottish team plays England but this really is not actually banter as there is a real conflict between the people who are loyal to the flag that they are taunting the Israelis with and the state of Israel. It is anti-Semitism at its core and if it was meant to be humorous then it missed the mark worse than an Anton Rogan clearance.

The “Celtic song” has the following lyrics…

“It’s a grand old team to play for, it’s a grand old team to sing, if you know your history”…

Let’s look at the history then, it is interesting they used the term “FREE PALESTINE” as this is blatantly incorrect because the state they wish to be recognized as a nation turned down the last opportunity to become a nation when it was offered by the UN in 1948. (The same time Israel became one) and the state of British Palestine actually was a flag which was sky blue and white halves with a gold Star of David. (I did not see any of them in the Green Brigade section?) Perhaps they do not “know their history?”

Celtic’s history – the poor man’s club

Celtic are known for championing causes and they have done many benevolent acts such as turning over their stadium for charity events and they were founded as a club to help those poor families in the East End of Glasgow, many of whom happened to be Irish and much like clubs in Dundee and Edinburgh, they became the club championed by the Catholic supporters and in some cases the Irish immigrants in those relevant cities. Unlike Rangers who would not proactively sign a Roman Catholic (and the first high profile signing was in 1989 when ex Celtic player Mo Johnston signed for Graeme Souness) conversely when Celtic had their greatest achievement in 1967 they had a few non-Catholics playing for them.

I really do not get the fascination with the Palestinian cause, I get that most of the Celtic fans are “cultural-Catholics” and couldn’t tell you the name of their local priest but even with the most basic of biblical knowledge they will know that God still has a special place for Israel so why are they actively choosing to go against the God that is a major part of the faith that they champion being such a big part of their identity?

Celtic or Rangers – Which one are you?

Actually neither! I come at it from a slightly unique point of view as I used to be employed by Celtic in the retail division and as hard as it may be to believe for the most ardent “Old Firm” fan but there was once upon a time someone who was known to be a “Proddy” and who used his “Sunday name” William and he answered the phone in most of Glasgow’s branches of the Celtic Shop and also the Mail Order line at some point in his Celtic career, and guess what – Celtic Park did not crumble! John Barnes was the manager around the time so the fans were preoccupied with what was unfolding (or not) on the green stuff in the middle of the stadium rather on me in the retail section.

Actually I only had an issue once and that was from two wee guys with Northern Irish accents and they were having issues spending a “Northern Bank” 20 pound note and it was a new girl on the cash desk who I had to approve this as Northern Irish money is legal tender in parts of the UK. (The girl had never seen one before so she called me over to make sure it was legit) and during the transaction they inquired why a Catholic would be called “William” to which I replied “Actually I am a Presbyterian” as I handed the kids their change, the look they gave me was priceless and symbolizes what happens if you project your prejudices on your kids.

To call myself a Protestant in those days of my life would be a slap in the face to those who set the reformation in progress, stalwarts like Knox, Wishart, Luther would not have recognized my life as “Christ like” and it was simply a cultural attachment more than an active church going/relationship with Jesus type of thing.

So how come you do a Christian blog now?

That has all changed and I am the worst type or “Proddy” as I am one of those annoying ones that is a “true believer” one that couldn’t really care what tribe you belong to on a Sunday as long as you truly worship the messiah you claim to represent. Really that is all that matters! There would be nothing to divide over if it wasn’t for that fundamental faith, if you are clinging onto that and not even attending the church you represent then you are not what you claim to be. Confusing stuff huh?

I moved passed the buildings of worship and found the reason behind it all and that was Jesus Christ, I worship at a new cathedral and that is the throne of grace. I don’t attend Scottish football anymore but that is because I live in the USA and my closest MLS franchise is some 200 miles away in Los Angeles.

You are a Zionist

Not as far as I know, I love the State of Israel because I believe that God is not finished with them yet, however many within that state have still to come to a knowledge of their Messiah. Do I think that Israel does everything right? Absolutely not as it is governed by men who make mistakes, there are faults on both sides in the Middle East conflict. I am not anti-Palestine, anti-Arab or anti-Islam because I believe that all have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23) but that can be resolved by finding Jesus as your Messiah.

Something to say?

I welcome debate but comments like “IRA loving” Terrorist supporting” PLO loving” or other fun stuff like that really won’t add to debate and often times I won’t even let them through! Feel free to comment otherwise though!

Please make your own application as needed.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
TTE
TGBTG
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Why Christians should J’adore Paris

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Matthew 5:4 (ESV) “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

It has been quite a week hasn’t it, last Friday we learned of multiple assaults on the French capital Paris that were attributed to a terrorist group called ISIS. Personally having been there I know that it is a beautiful, vibrant and a city that is very proud of whom they are and it is a city that is no stranger to being attacked in such a violent manner.

As Christians it is difficult not to get caught up in the idea that “the perpetrators must pay” and “revenge is the only option” and whilst I am not surprised nor unhappy that France chose to retaliate within 48 hours and I would never criticize their national policy, I do feel that as Christians it is as the verse above states our job to comfort the mourning.

This attack was not just an attack on France it was an attack on our way of living. It was a reminder and a reinforcement that we do have people out there who do wish to harm us and wish us harm. As Tony Blair stated on the day of 9/11 when he said “We are all Americans today” I would say that “Je suis Parisiens” (We are Parisian) And for me that is why it has hit us on a level that we have not been hit since that fateful day in September 2011 and made us remember how we felt on that day.

Jesus spoke the words above as part of a greater sermon called “The Beatitudes” where Jesus said some words that were quite revolutionary at that time of Roman occupation where the mourning were not comforted, the meek were not inheriting the earth, the merciful did not always receive mercy. Jesus spoke words directly from heaven and touched men’s hearts in a way that empty religion could not. We as Christians should do likewise.

This suffering is temporary

Romans 8:18 (ESV) For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

Paris you have been given a sucker punch right to the gut of the heart of your country and I pray for you and yours at this time. They have struck right at the heart of a city that was just beginning its weekend at the core of national pride, the national stadium where the beloved “Les Bleus” were playing an old foe Germany in an association football match to warm the team up before the big games in the same city the following year.

I grieve for those people who lost loved ones in the 129 souls that perished that night between the various places that attacks took place. My prayer is that they knew Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and I pray with condolence and sympathy for you oh loved ones that you may find comfort in the “great comforter”.

I take solace in that I believe there will have been more people praying for France this week than at any other time since WW2. I stated on my Twitter feed this week the truth that is pictured above that “The last time France had so many allies was WW2” and despite the great sufferings you experience and grief is a real heart wrenching thing to go through, but there is Salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ and I pray for the nation of France to turn to Jesus at this dark time.

I shared this week on my Facebook wall the incredible testimony of my brothers at Calvary Chapel Paris who met for a service two days after the attacks and they did not just have an increase in numbers but in the fragility of death being so close it allowed people to examine where their faith was. It really made people look at the truth of Paul’s writings in 1st Corinthians 15…

1st Corinthians 15:54 (ESV) When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” 55 “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” 56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

I would urge you that behold now is the accepted time and now is God’s day of Salvation, (2nd Corinthians 6:2) and if you are not assured of your place in heaven I would urge you to either contact me to discuss or please let a pastor or minister know and we would be happy to talk you through accepting Jesus into your heart and being born again.

He heals the broken hearted

Psalm 147:3 (ESV) He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.

And this is the truth of the whole Bible that there is no hurt, there is no valley to deep, to depths in which we can plunge to that would not be able to be healed by God. I serve a big God that created us in his image, knows our innermost parts before we were knitted in our mothers wombs one who cares about you regardless of the wrong you have done or how far you think you have travelled to God, he is willing to have a relationship with you, that is why Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins.

This message is for the Parisian as much as it is for the ISIS terrorist that you today could be in heaven if you put your faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus said in the Gospel of John chapter 14 verse 6 that “he is the only way to heaven” no one comes unto the father (God) except through him. I pray for a true revival in the city in a movement that moves hearts and minds and the nation repents and follows Jesus Christ. I read the following in 2nd Chronicles 7…

2nd Chronicles 7:14 (ESV) if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

And this is my prayer, an abundance of prayer in Paris and a healing of the land! Please know my Parisian friends I do grieve with you and lament that this had to happen to you and as a Scotsman I have a special affinity towards the French due to our shared royalty and history. Most Frenchmen I have met have been good sorts and a credit to your country and my overall opinion of your country is favorable due to time spent there and people met. I have a great love personally for Paris as a city and have my own personal feelings about the attackers.

To any Muslims looking in

Jihad is not the answer! ISIS is not the answer! Jesus Christ is! He is the Son of the one true God and he spoke about how to recognize his true disciples and that is “if you had love for one another” (John 13:35) There are no virgins awaiting you in Paradise and you do not have to kill infidels in order to be assured of celestial paradise. I would love to speak to you regarding a relationship with Jesus. I pray for you and grieve that you have not found him as your Savior.

I pray this article was a blessing, feel free to share, comment or like on whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads.
TTE
TGBTG
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TTE Advent Calendar Day Sixteen – December 16th

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TTE Advent Calendar Day Sixteen – December 16th

Thank you for reading our sixteenth installment of our advent series, please check out our advent page for more articles in this series.

Today we look at the prophecy that the messiah would be the Son of God. We read this prophecy in the 2nd Psalm verse seven.

Begotten not created

Psalm 2:7 (ESV) I will tell of the decree: The LORD said to me, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you.

I love this prophecy it tells me two things about the coming messiah:

1) He is the Son of God
2) He is begotten

Here is where we lose our Muslim friends who claim that Allah is the same God as the God of the Bible. In Islamic literature we read that “Allah has no Son”. So with Jesus being the Son of God, they worship a different God. I know folks like Tony Blair and his faith foundation may disagree with me, however both holy books (the Bible and Qur’an) say it is not so.

This is not to say that people who were born into the Islamic culture cannot go to heaven. They can! In the same way as anyone who is still in their sin can go to heaven, by trusting in Jesus Christ and following him as your Savior. You will no longer be a Muslim but a Christian.

I also find it awesome that the word used is “begotten” as we stated in a previous article, he was both born of a woman and born of a virgin. (Notice how prophecy comes together?) He was born in exactly the same way that we were, God could have created him as a man, much like he did Adam, but God decided to have Jesus be born as a child. This passage is also quoted in the book of Hebrews…

Hebrews 1:5 (ESV) For to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are my Son, today I have begotten you”? Or again, “I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son”?

The writer to the Hebrews quotes two well-known pieces of scripture (to the Hebrew audience at least)  and ties them to messianic prophecy. He quotes Psalm 2:7 and 2 Samuel 7:14, here is the latter for full context:

2 Samuel 7:14 (ESV) I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men:

This takes away the heresy that was perpetrated through both the secular world and to a lesser extent the church that jesus was an angel and not actually the Son of God. These verses categorically refute this.

Bible versus opinion

I like it when the bible explains way better than I ever could. I would much rather quote the bible to explain a theological position far better than I ever could. I may stumble, have bad grammar or just not explain it well. The Bible on the other hand would explain, give prophecy and draw a line between scriptures to show God’s perfect will.

Truth be told, my opinion is flawed, like any man and subject to bias. The way that I look at these articles is that if I cannot back up the claims or theological ideas that I put forward with scripture and elementary theological reasoning, then what I write is bunkum.

My Son – Who I am well pleased

Matthew 3:16 (ESV) And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; 17 and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”

There is nothing finer than a proud parent. When my daughter does well I am so proud. I also love to extend words of love to her as well as warm embraces. It is important to me that she knows that despite her faults I love her unconditionally.

But when she makes me proud, an example of this would be when she sings out, makes a craft that she has invested time or is proud of or even does well at something, my heart swells to an almost exploding rate and I am so proud. God is in that situation with Jesus. Here is the Son of God, humbling himself and allowing himself to be baptized by a man to be an example to the ones who will follow him.

I recently had a birthday and my daughter made me a cake (with adult supervision) and you should have seen her face as she brought that to me. She was so happy to be giving something to Daddy on his birthday. She was glowing to see daddy’s response.

Again (if we really needed it at this point) is further confirmation that Jesus is Gods own son. The firstborn and the apple of God’s eye, equal in deity with God but also humanity incarnate.

Deity versus humanity

This is the most common problematic issue with looking at the life of Jesus. We have to treat all situations acknowledging that whilst he is fully human, he is also fully God. Angels worship and serve Jesus, which gives us his place in heaven. (Hebrews 1:6; Deuteronomy 32:43)

We can’t promote the humanity in place of the deity (and vice versa) He is fully God and fully man. He is God because we see in these scriptures that Father and Son share the same being, because he is both he is the only one who could atone for the sins of the world. Unlike the Jehovah’s Witness and Latter Day Saint (Mormon) churches believe, Jesus is confirmed as being both God and man.

Jesus is unique, there is no-one else that came down and knew from the beginning that he was there to die for our sins. He gave everything, never sinned, lived a perfect life, was blameless and man tried to send him to his death because of their own sinful hearts.

But death could not hold him; three days later he rose again, strengthened his followers by appearing to them before ascending into heaven to sit at the Fathers right hand. He will come again to judge the world, but it is your choice whether you are found guilty or not.

Jesus went through all this so we can go to heaven, although that decision is ours, we have to choose to follow Jesus. My hope is that these articles help and please contact me if you need to discuss further.

God bless you one and all, I thank you for reading this article. Please share, comment or like below as the LORD leads you too.
TGBTG
TTE

TTE Advent Calendar Day Five – December 5th

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TTE Advent Calendar Day Five – December 5th

Thank you for reading our fifth installment of our advent series, please check out our advent page for more articles in this series.

Today we look at another prophetic claim of the messiah, that he would be a descendent of Isaac. As usual we will be looking at the Old Testament scriptures that predict this as well as the New Testament fulfillment of this prophecy. The first scripture I wish to look at is in the book of Genesis chapter 17…

Genesis 17:15 (ESV) And God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. 16 I will bless her, and moreover, I will give you a son by her. I will bless her, and she shall become nations; kings of peoples shall come from her.” 17 Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed and said to himself, “Shall a child be born to a man who is a hundred years old? Shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?” 18 And Abraham said to God, “Oh that Ishmael might live before you!” 19 God said, “No, but Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his offspring after him. 20 As for Ishmael, I have heard you; behold, I have blessed him and will make him fruitful and multiply him greatly. He shall father twelve princes, and I will make him into a great nation. 21 But I will establish my covenant with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this time next year.”

As we read yesterday Abraham was 100 years old when he got the confirmation from God that he would have a son and he would be called Isaac. This is where we lose our Muslim friends who believe that Ishmael is the true successor.

Here we read God changes Abram’s name to Abraham and Sarai to Sarah as a rememberence of the covenant that the God had promised to deliver. The key here is that God had promised and God delivered. He said the child would come from Sarah. (verse 16) This rules out Ishmael as his mother is Hagar. Abraham tried to verify if Ishmael was the successor, however God tells us who the child is and what his name is, it will be Isaac.

The great thing I have found about studying the Bible is that God will date and confirm things to the letter. In the seventh chapter of the book of Acts this is dated as before he left Ur.

Acts 7:2 (ESV) And Stephen said: “Brothers and fathers, hear me. The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran, 3 and said to him, ‘Go out from your land and from your kindred and go into the land that I will show you.’ 4 Then he went out from the land of the Chaldeans and lived in Haran. And after his father died, God removed him from there into this land in which you are now living. 5 Yet he gave him no inheritance in it, not even a foot’s length, but promised to give it to him as a possession and to his offspring after him, though he had no child. 6 And God spoke to this effect—that his offspring would be sojourners in a land belonging to others, who would enslave them and afflict them four hundred years. 7 ‘But I will judge the nation that they serve,’ said God, ‘and after that they shall come out and worship me in this place.’ 8 And he gave him the covenant of circumcision. And so Abraham became the father of Isaac, and circumcised him on the eighth day, and Isaac became the father of Jacob, and Jacob of the twelve patriarchs.

This is powerful stuff, this speech got Stephen stoned to death! (Acts 7:54-60) He goes on to give them a history lesson of the times of the Jewish people and a history of the Hebrew people. he concludes with this.

Acts 7:51 (ESV) “You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you. 52 Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whom you have now betrayed and murdered, 53 you who received the law as delivered by angels and did not keep it.”

Stephen is a verifiable primary witness as he lived in the time of Jesus death; he was also so sold out as a believer that he knew that by saying these things in a religious melting pot like Jerusalem he was most certainly going to be harmed. He was willing to go on record, to be killed by stones and die to make sure that the link between the Messiah promised through Isaac was validated and verified as Jesus Christ.

Whatever happened to Ishmael?

Here is the deal, God promised a child to Sarai and Abram, Sarai thought God needed a helping hand and decided to have another woman birth an heir. But God showed more faithfulness to her than she did. God keeps his promises, even the ones that seem so impossible and out there that we do not see any way they could come true.

The lesson here is faith! Sarai did not have enough faith and patience to allow God to lay the foundation and do things in his time. I do not mock Sarai for this as I have much the same problem in my life. (Let’s be real here!) I have lost count of the amount of blessings I have lost because I thought God “needed my help” achieving what had been promised.

Look at this passage written by Paul to the Roman church that explains it far better than I ever could:

Romans 4:16 (ESV) That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring—not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, 17 as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. 18 In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, “So shall your offspring be.” 19 He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. 20 No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, 21 fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. 22 That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.” 23 But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, 24 but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, 25 who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.

God’s faithfulness is not conditional on us keeping our end of the bargain; otherwise NONE of us would be blessed! We all fail in some way. God also gives a timescale that this prophecy will be fulfilled, it will be done within a year, let’s look to see if a son was in fact born. Also we have the question “what happens to Ishmael?” Let’s look at Genesis chapter twenty one.

Genesis 21:8 (ESV) And the child grew and was weaned. And Abraham made a great feast on the day that Isaac was weaned. 9 But Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, laughing. 10 So she said to Abraham, “Cast out this slave woman with her son, for the son of this slave woman shall not be heir with my son Isaac.” 11 And the thing was very displeasing to Abraham on account of his son. 12 But God said to Abraham, “Be not displeased because of the boy and because of your slave woman. Whatever Sarah says to you, do as she tells you, for through Isaac shall your offspring be named. 13 And I will make a nation of the son of the slave woman also, because he is your offspring.” 14 So Abraham rose early in the morning and took bread and a skin of water and gave it to Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, along with the child, and sent her away. And she departed and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba. 15 When the water in the skin was gone, she put the child under one of the bushes. 16 Then she went and sat down opposite him a good way off, about the distance of a bowshot, for she said, “Let me not look on the death of the child.” And as she sat opposite him, she lifted up her voice and wept. 17 And God heard the voice of the boy, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What troubles you, Hagar? Fear not, for God has heard the voice of the boy where he is. 18 Up! Lift up the boy, and hold him fast with your hand, for I will make him into a great nation.” 19 Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water. And she went and filled the skin with water and gave the boy a drink. 20 And God was with the boy, and he grew up. He lived in the wilderness and became an expert with the bow. 21 He lived in the wilderness of Paran, and his mother took a wife for him from the land of Egypt.

So Ishmael starts the chain of events by mocking Sarah and Isaac, emotions are running high at this point with two women in the same dwelling having birthed children by the same man. (Could this be a warning about multiple wives or polyamorous relationships?)

Sarah rather unsurprisingly grew resentful of Hagar and Ishmael now that God has come good on his promise. Isaac was no longer a promise but a real tangible child in her arms. Things quite literally got real! Abraham knew that Ishmael would be blessed due to him; however he had the hard job of fulfilling the wishes of his wife and sending away Hagar and his son.

God however made provision for the boy, in true Godly compassion he made a place for him, gave him a nation. It would not be Israel but he would be that father of a great people. Ishmael knew what was going on being some 13 years older than Isaac. I understand this perfectly as I myself am 12 years younger than my older brother. Paul writes to the Galatian church using Ishmael and Isaac as an example; let’s look at Galatians chapter four:

Galatians 4:21 (ESV) Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not listen to the law? 22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by a slave woman and one by a free woman. 23 But the son of the slave was born according to the flesh, while the son of the free woman was born through promise. 24 Now this may be interpreted allegorically: these women are two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery; she is Hagar. 25 Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia; she corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. 26 But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother. 27 For it is written, “Rejoice, O barren one who does not bear; break forth and cry aloud, you who are not in labor! For the children of the desolate one will be more than those of the one who has a husband.” 28 Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise. 29 But just as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so also it is now. 30 But what does the Scripture say? “Cast out the slave woman and her son, for the son of the slave woman shall not inherit with the son of the free woman.” 31 So, brothers, we are not children of the slave but of the free woman.

Are you a child of promise? Have you accepted the free gift of salvation that is only given through Christ Jesus our LORD? It is as real as this my friends. This is talking about where you will spend eternity!

The life of Jesus – Isaac’s descendent

Now that we have successfully shown that Jesus was the one promised through the line of Isaac we must look at the life of Jesus in the gospel of Luke chapter three.

Luke 3:23 (ESV) Jesus, when he began his ministry, was about thirty years of age, being the son (as was supposed) of Joseph, the son of Heli, 24 the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Melchi, the son of Jannai, the son of Joseph, 25 the son of Mattathias, the son of Amos, the son of Nahum, the son of Esli, the son of Naggai, 26 the son of Maath, the son of Mattathias, the son of Semein, the son of Josech, the son of Joda, 27 the son of Joanan, the son of Rhesa, the son of Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, the son of Neri, 28 the son of Melchi, the son of Addi, the son of Cosam, the son of Elmadam, the son of Er, 29 the son of Joshua, the son of Eliezer, the son of Jorim, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, 30 the son of Simeon, the son of Judah, the son of Joseph, the son of Jonam, the son of Eliakim, 31 the son of Melea, the son of Menna, the son of Mattatha, the son of Nathan, the son of David, 32 the son of Jesse, the son of Obed, the son of Boaz, the son of Sala, the son of Nahshon, 33 the son of Amminadab, the son of Admin, the son of Arni, the son of Hezron, the son of Perez, the son of Judah, 34 the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham, the son of Terah, the son of Nahor, 35 the son of Serug, the son of Reu, the son of Peleg, the son of Eber, the son of Shelah, 36 the son of Cainan, the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem, the son of Noah, the son of Lamech, 37 the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch, the son of Jared, the son of Mahalaleel, the son of Cainan, 38 the son of Enos, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.

Some of you may have skipped this verse a hundred times and dismissed it as a boring genealogy, I see a line of family but I see something more! A promise that was given to a faithful man and his wife which seemed impossible. God showed what a big God he is and made it happen. Nothing is impossible for God.

This has application for us all; regardless of what you face and regardless of where you are in your life God wants to use you. You must first come in complete obedience and surrender, but God is faithful and do what he promised. Don’t do what Sarah did and “give God a hand” he is faithful and more than capable of fulfilling his will in your life.

God bless you one and all, I thank you for reading this article. Please share, comment or like below as the LORD leads you too.
TGBTG
TTE

Pastors – Let us treat the “City of Houston” biblically

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Pastors – Let us treat the “City of Houston” biblically

Jesus said in the Gospel of Matthew

Matthew 5:38 (ESV) “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41 And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42 Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.

The idea of this article is perhaps to shed a little balance and take away emotion from something that is obviously a highly charged issue.  I will gladly share my bias here, I am a Conservative Christian blogger (duh, if you are here you will most certainly know that) who actually has a “dog in this fight” to use a British term. I have friends who are in the process of establishing a church in the very city that I am blogging about.

I have relative safety from this in the fact that I am blogging about this from the safety of my own home in Central California and have no ties to the City of Houston or any of its entities. As it stands at the moment my local authority has not requested any teaching that I have done or any pastors that I have been associated with.

Persecution?

This heading is rightly a question as I am a little unsure as I have heard many provocative remarks regarding whether this is “persecution” or not. The fact is that an elected official is using power that she has in order to air personal grievances. I am of course meaning the Mayor of Houston and her crusade to request copies of sermons (or as it was later requested “public speeches”)

This was done to find out if any of the pastors had taught a biblical perspective on issues of a LGBT nature, the mayor Annise Parker (which a lot has been made out of the fact that she is a lesbian, however I deem that irrelevant) has made it a personal goal to single out five pastors for “special treatment”.

I don’t necessarily call it persecution as I don’t see that I see in many other countries where biblical teachers are being dragged through the streets and tortured for even professing the name of Christ. These guys have freedoms that pastors in former communist and current Muslim countries would dream of, they have financial backing, many get paid to pastor and they can meet out in the open safe in the knowledge that the next convert may or may not be a Judas and sent them to their death.

So in the truest sense of the word it is not persecution.

Do as the verse says

We are told in the above verse that “And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well” give her the sermons, give her as much literature as she wants and needs, don’t send her bibles! listen folks. I follow a BIG GOD who has told me that this in Isaiah 55 (That the word shall not return empty) Here is the full discourse for balance.

Isaiah 55:6 (ESV) “Seek the LORD while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; 7 let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. 8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. 10 “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, 11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. 12 “For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.

Here is the crux of what i wish to say, I believe that there is some reason behind why she is asking to have these sermons, in her mind she is doing her own bidding, however I would not count out that God may be orchestrating something bigger. God has done this before remember,  one of the greatest evangelists was the Apostle Paul, who up until his conversion just shy of Damascus in Acts 9, was the Pharisee Saul who tortured and killed Christians.  (In fact he was on his way to do likewise when he was converted)

If Jesus can come face to face with a murderer and a man responsible for a lot of the first century persecution,  he certainly can work this situation to the glory of God using the ones who have been called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28)

Final thoughts

We are told (again by Jesus) in the book of Matthew

Matthew 28:19 (ESV) Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

So my prayer to the pastors is to let them have the sermons. (Most are available on the church websites) and be available to counsel those who have questions. Embrace those who breathe evil against you are no show them the love of Christ.

I pray for the government officials that they find the knowledge of the one true messiah. His name is Jesus Christ and he is the LORD.

Jesus said in John 14:6 that “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” It is through him and him only that you can have eternal life.

God bless and I pray that this was a blessing and please share, comment or like below as the LORD leads.
TGBTG
TTE

Solemn 9/11 thoughts

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Solemn 9/11 thoughts – Pray for our enemies

1 Peter 2:13 (ESV) Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution,fn whether it be to the emperor as supreme, 14 or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. 15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. 16 Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. 17 Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.

That dark day

It is that date again, the dark date that has appeared when I stare at my calendar this morning. 9/11, September 11th.

Not since that date in 2001 has that day been “just another date in late summer/autumn”. The date that struck so many, not just in the cities that were affected, but the whole world wide. People in New York went to work as normal that day not realizing that as the clock went closer to 9am they were that step closer to imminent attack.

Those of us who are old enough to remember that horror that happened that day, personally I was working at an American company called “Morgan Stanley” at the time, it happened around 2pm our time in Glasgow Scotland and I had just came out of a meeting to see Sky news on the big TV at the boardroom, it was replaying what had happened in New York.

By the time I was on my first break two planes were down and we were hearing unconfirmed reports (at that point) that the Pentagon had been attacked by a passenger plane. We all know how that day played out and how devastating that day was for the American people and the west as a whole.

The British Prime minister at that time, Labour leader Tony Blair judged the mood of the British people well by stating that “we were all Americans” specifying that in adversity the “special relationship” between London and Washington D.C. was very much intact. It also told the world that if you attack our friends, be prepared that we “have their back”.

Since 9/11 – A new patriotism

There is nothing like adversity to bring a people group together, whether that is based on ethnicity, skin pigmentation, religion or in this case nationality. When the back is against the wall you find a joint identity to band together and use the strength in numbers psyche.

There became a new surge in American pride, flags were raised, people backed their leaders, and people came together and wanted to recover together. People questioned themselves in matters of faith and many people sought out answers from God.

This morning when I drove out of my small town where I live in Central California I saw that all up the main street is American flags hanging from every lamppost. As a non-American, I am happy to see this. I believe that a strong America is the one who has worth in who they are.

I am good with a new patriotism as long as it does not take us further away from God.

New America – Forgive and rebuild

The strong America that I speak of is the one that forgives their enemies, as we learn to rebuild, New York has already done so and buildings will rise again, we will remember the fallen on many nations who have fallen defending that right called freedom.

Many folks remember those in the services in the NY/NJ Port authority area and rightly so, but 9/11 was the beginning of a military campaign where many young men of many nations gave so much, in many cases gave their lives to protect the way we live.

This may shock people but I do forgive the folks who planned, executed and carried out these terrible attacks in both September 2001 and beyond, in places like Washington DC, London, Paris, New York, Benghazi, and Jerusalem and many other places.

Pray for your adversaries

This part will not be popular and frankly I don’t really mind. My savior Jesus Christ taught many messages that were uncomfortable for the people to hear but does not make them any less correct. Despite your feelings on your enemies you have to be willing to humble yourself and pray for them.

We are commanded by Jesus to “love your enemies” don’t get me wrong, this is all temporary, beyond what we do for the kingdom of God, everything whether it be wealth, health or whatever is top of mind for you today, it is all temporary.

I cannot do anything about the terrorist who wishes to terminate me because of who I believe in as my savior, I can however love him and pray for him. If we genuinely believe in Jesus Christ, regardless of whom the enemy is, we have to be prepared to humble ourselves and pray for the salvation of that enemy.

If we get them saved and following the true Jesus, then we can eliminate that foreign threat. How is that for foreign policy?

Go to Hell terrorists!

I will be frank and say that I don’t think I have never hated anyone enough to actually want them to be thrown in the lake of fire. I don’t write these words because I want the terror threat to go away. I do, but I also want people to be saved.

Jesus Christ died for the sins of the world, for everyone, of every nation, every tribe, every ethnicity and every religion that has been embraced, Jesus came to save them all. Remember the words in John chapter 3 “God so loved the _____” (the word is world)

There is a place in heaven for people who were born into the Muslim culture, if they seek out the way (John 14:6) the truth and the life and accept Jesus as their savior, they will be saved.

Jesus loves you

This message is for you ISIS, This message is for you Al-Queda, This is for you rebels in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Eastern Europe, Israel, Jordan, Syria, India, Kuwait, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Turkey, Sudan and anywhere else that breathes hate to the west.

To our enemies both domestic and foreign, I want to pray for you! I want you to find the love I have in the Jesus of the Bible!

The message is simple; the Jesus in the Qu’ran is not the Jesus of the Bible. Jesus is the Son of God, equal with God and is the only way to heaven (or paradise) it is not through Jihad or holy war.

Imagine if 9/11 was the gateway to getting our enemies saved and into heaven? Would you pay that price? That is probably the toughest question to answer and I mean it with all reverence and with no disrespect to those who have lost so much due to this conflict

God bless and I pray this was a blessing, challenge and please share to whom you wish to see this, comment and like below
TGBTG
TTE