Archive for the ‘The Cross’ Category

Buying The Field

In the time of Jeremiah, the Babylonians had already exiled some of the people of Israel.  Jeremiah was very unpopular at the time in the nation because he was the one who had said that the Babylonians were going to come, take over and that Israel should submit to them or it will be even worse.

So Jeremiah sits in jail, and God wants to declare to the people that one day He will restore the people to Israel and rebuild Jerusalem. The way God illustrates this point is in the following way:

Jeremiah 32:1-19  (ESV)  – The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD in the tenth year of Zedekiah king of Judah, which was the eighteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar.  2 At that time the army of the king of Babylon was besieging Jerusalem, and Jeremiah the prophet was shut up in the court of the guard that was in the palace of the king of Judah.  3 For Zedekiah king of Judah had imprisoned him, saying, “Why do you prophesy and say, ‘Thus says the LORD: Behold, I am giving this city into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall capture it;  4 Zedekiah king of Judah shall not escape out of the hand of the Chaldeans, but shall surely be given into the hand of the king of Babylon, and shall speak with him face to face and see him eye to eye.  5 And he shall take Zedekiah to Babylon, and there he shall remain until I visit him, declares the LORD. Though you fight against the Chaldeans, you shall not succeed’?”

6 Jeremiah said, “The word of the LORD came to me:  7 Behold, Hanamel the son of Shallum your uncle will come to you and say, ‘Buy my field that is at Anathoth, for the right of redemption by purchase is yours.’  8 Then Hanamel my cousin came to me in the court of the guard, in accordance with the word of the LORD, and said to me, ‘Buy my field that is at Anathoth in the land of Benjamin, for the right of possession and redemption is yours; buy it for yourself.’ Then I knew that this was the word of the LORD.  9 “And I bought the field at Anathoth from Hanamel my cousin, and weighed out the money to him, seventeen shekels of silver.  10 I signed the deed, sealed it, got witnesses, and weighed the money on scales.

11 Then I took the sealed deed of purchase, containing the terms and conditions and the open copy.  12 And I gave the deed of purchase to Baruch the son of Neriah son of Mahseiah, in the presence of Hanamel my cousin, in the presence of the witnesses who signed the deed of purchase, and in the presence of all the Judeans who were sitting in the court of the guard.  13 I charged Baruch in their presence, saying,  14 ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Take these deeds, both this sealed deed of purchase and this open deed, and put them in an earthenware vessel, that they may last for a long time. 15 For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Houses and fields and vineyards shall again be bought in this land.’

16 “After I had given the deed of purchase to Baruch the son of Neriah, I prayed to the LORD, saying:  17 ‘Ah, Lord GOD! It is you who has made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you.  18 You show steadfast love to thousands, but you repay the guilt of fathers to their children after them, O great and mighty God, whose name is the LORD of hosts,  19 great in counsel and mighty in deed, whose eyes are open to all the ways of the children of man, rewarding each one according to his ways and according to the fruit of his deeds. (…then the rest of the section Jeremiah praised God)

It takes time to do all of this.  It costs money to make such a purposes.  God’s intention in making this illustration through His prophet was to visually declare to the people of the land that God remained committed to His promises.  Though they had broken His covenant and turned to other Gods, He was still faithful to the words He had spoken to Abraham, David & those who trusted in Him.  So God has Jeremiah buy a field to show that God has not given up on the place.

You think that’s something?! What about what God did for you to declare His commitment to His word?

1 Peter 1:18-19 – …you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers,  19 but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.

Revelation 5:9-10 – And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.  10 “You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth.”

1 Corinthians 6:20a –  For you have been bought with a price…

How sure is God’s commitment to His covenants and His word – He declare the seriousness of His investment through the cross.  In Jeremiah we see a man who buys a field declaring that the land is valuable to God.  In Jesus we see that mankind is valuable as he is offered on our behalf.  I bet Jeremiah’s buying of the field caught some people’s attention at the time.  May the amazing love of God shown through the cross woo us from the world and towards the merciful one who gave himself for us all.

2 Corinthians 5:21   21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.


Putting the tough questions in perspective

As we go through life exploring and developing our faith deeper and deeper we are bound to come across questions and crises of faith.  Sometimes those questions do not get answered in a way that we like, if at all.  Questions like:

“why does evil exist?”
“Is God subject to what is Good or is Good whatever God says it is? and can make evil good?”
“What about contradictions in the Bible?”
“What about evolution?”
“Why did God demand Genocide in the Bible?”
“why does god permit atrocities to children in this day?”
“why doesn’t healing occur today like they did in the bible times?”

Fortunately there has been much progress in apologetics and philosophy in christianity in the last couple of decades. One of my personal favorite people in this field is William Lane Craig. Actually the pic of me that Victor chose for this site is of me and Dr. Craig with the Good doctor cropped out (after much protest to victor from me.)

What is the question that would or should cause us to lose our faith? What is out faith dependent on?

There was some very recent comments on this board where some statements are made about why certain people don’t believe in the God of Jesus Christ, or don’t have faith in scripture.

While some of the content of these comments are valid concerns, a lot of them have been wrestled with for the past two millennia and there are answered readily available with simple internet searches.
But even if these questions were still not answered, would it be cause to lose our faith?

According to 1 Cor 15:15, our faith seems to be to be very dependent on the resurrection of the dead, and in particular, the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

And what is our hope for the future? That Jesus Christ is coming back to establish the kingdom of God here on earth.

And why do we have hope to take part in this future kingdom of God?
Because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross.

When struggling with the tough questions that cause doubt’s and crises of faith, i ask myself if the questions

Does this mean that Jesus was not raised from the dead?

Does this mean that Jesus is not returning to earth to establish God Kingdom?

Does this mean that Jesus’s death on the cross was not the sacrifice for my sins?

I have never really found anything that causes me to answer either of these questions in the affirmative, especially the first one. There has been much work done on the historical accuracy of the resurrection, especially by Dr. Craig and N.T. Wright.

This is not to say that all other questions are not worthy of response or consideration, but I personally have found these questions to be the Biggest Big picture questions that trump all others and to not be overwhelmed to the point where I question my faith in God.

Letterman & The Cross & Being Exposed

Thanks to The Resurgence (Mark Driscoll’s blog) for this video.

I never thought about this point – but it is a great one.  I heard all of the news about the scandal & extortion Letterman was involved in, but I never though about how he must have felt to deal with all of this and then to deal with it publicly as he did.  First he had to deal with the shame of people finding out who were closest to him, his wife, son, family, co-workers.  Then it was going to spread to the entire nation.  I know he disclosed the situation in a very public and straight forward way, but in that I lost the fact that what was secret (and intended to be that) was now disclosed.

That’s something that everyone will do at some point – did you realize that?  We get to choose when that will be though.  We either come clean now before the LORD and allow Him to forgive us, cleanse us and remove our sin from us, or it is brought to light on judgment day.

Daniel 12:2 – Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt.

Romans 2:16 – “…according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus.”

Luke 8:17 – For nothing is hidden that will not become evident, nor anything secret that will not be known and come to light.

“Let Them Hate Us”

John 15.18-20 – “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. “If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also.

“the world hates you.”

Let them hate us if they must.

Let them hate us for refusing to love the culture they hold so dear.

Let them hate us for being ignorant of the drama associated with their stars;

for not singing along with their degrading music;

for our absence at the theater when the next horror movie comes out.

Let them hate us for our lack of nationalistic fervor;

for our absence from the rebellion parade;

for our slack hands and silent mouths when their pledge is uttered.

Let them hate us for staying home on the night that the dead are memorialized

for having no tree adorning in our homes;

for staying sober when their custom is to wear green.

Let them hate us for our modesty, our integrity, our sobriety,

But, let them never hate us for hypocrisy.

Let them never hate us for hard-heartedness.

Let them never hate us for lacking cross-shaped love.

Tell Me The Story

Great song and the dance really captures the message. What a story we have – the gospel from Creation to the New Creation literally within the planet and also beginning with God’s Covenant people today.

Video from Living Hope International Ministries’ 2008 Family Camp. Powerful words and imagery. Video by Blake Cortright. Song by Chris Rice.

What if you had no excuses?

Wow.  Powerful for sure.  She speaks to a common misconception in the church today which makes people think that they cannot be holy.  Yet page after page we see the call to “be holy as I am holy” and the like – with words which tell us the LORD will enable and empower us to do so.  So which sin, which area of your life is too powerful or tied down which cannot be overcome and broken by the power of the God who can create a universe with a word?

Our desire should be to give it all to Him.  If one recognizes what the LORD has done through the Messiah on behalf of us, shouldn’t that love push us, motivate, even control us to give love back to Him?

May the excuses we have to continue in sin fall away so the power of the LORD is allowed to transform us all.

Is The Life You’re Living Worth Christ Dying For?

An important question to ask.

Based on this video, what do you think?