Archive for November, 2008


Wonderful Counselor

Jesus is Wonderful to Me!
This past February, in New Plymouth, a city on the north island of New Zealand, a judge ordered a young girl a ward of the court so that she could change her name. Her name: “Talula does the Hula from Hawaii” Officials in the same town succeeded in blocking names such as “Keenan Got Lucy” and “Yeah Detroit”, “Fat Boy” twin names “Fish and Chips”, but allowed “Number 16 Bus Stop” and “Midnight Chardonnay” and twin names “Benson and Hedges”.

We’ve come a long way from the Old Testament practice of attaching names because of their meaning.

Names in the Old Testament often had special meaning, for instance when Rachel was dying in childbirth, she chose to name her son, Benoni, “son of my sorrow.” What a terrible thing to go through life with a name that reminds you that your birth killed your mother. So his father, Jacob, renamed him Benjamin, “son of my right hand.”

God has even used names as signs to his people:

Isaiah 8:18 (NASB) Behold, I and the children whom the Lord has given me are for signs and wonders in Israel from the Lord of hosts, who dwells on Mount Zion.

  • Isaiah means “salvation of Jehovah”
  • Shear-jashub:  “a remnant will return”
  • Maher-shalal-hash-baz:  “quick to plunder, swift to the spoil”
  • Immanuel: “God with us”

Their names were signs that judgment was coming quickly, and any Salvation would be through Jehovah, not with any alliance with Assyria, but that through the judgment, God would be with them, and a remnant will return.

Now 2,700 or so years later, we celebrate the birth of a baby named by God-

Matthew 1:21, “You shall call his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins.”

Jesus means, “The Lord is salvation.”

But hundreds of years before His birth, Isaiah had a prophetic vision of this child in Isaiah 9.

Storm in St CroixJust three years ago my wife and I took a trip to St Croix. We sat in a beach side restaurant and watched as a storm approached from the sea. That evening the storm grew worse as it seemed the voice of God was upon the waters. I beheld the flash of His lightning’s and listened to the glory of His thunders. The sea seemed to be at war with the thundering, trying to drown out the voice of God with the mighty oceans roar. It was a dark night, and dark clouds covered the sky, but far away on the distant horizon, a light shone, the reflection of the moon. It was a bright shining, like gold. The moon was hidden in the clouds, yet she was able to send her rays down upon the waters.

This is the scene of Isaiah 9. All around him was the darkness of men in rebellion to God. Isaiah heard the prophetic rumblings of God’s voice, he saw the flashes of God’s vengeance. But far away he saw a brightness, a clear shining that came directly from heaven. With the vision burned upon his mind he wrote:

“The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.” Isaiah 9:2 (ASV)

And even though he saw through the spans of time battles “with confused noise and garments rolled in blood,”  yet he fixed his eyes upon that one bright spot in the future, and he proclaimed, “Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful.”

Isaiah spoke of Jesus Christ. He is a child born of a virgin in reference to his human nature,  yet He is a son given, in reference to His divine nature. As a child he was born, but as a Son He was given.

The name the prophet Isaiah saw first was ‏פֶּלֶא‎ pele,  a masculine noun meaning a wonder, a miracle, a marvel. This word is used to represent something unusual or extraordinary.

God the Father never gave his Son a name which he did not deserve. There is no exaggeration, no flattery here. Now we can have two or three interpretations here.

You could call Jesus “marvelous”.

“Christ is the marvel of marvels”

The Shepherds marveled at Him, the Wise Men marveled at Him, Mary marveled at Him, the priests marveled at him at the age of 12, the crowds marveled at Him, even the Roman soldier marveled at Him upon the cross.

You could call Him “miraculous”

“Jesus is the  miracle of miracles”

Jesus is more than a man, he is God’s highest miracle. He is God in flesh, He is God incarnate. He is the Savior of all mankind wrapped in swaddling clothes. He is the Fountain of Living Water drinking at Mary’s breast. He is the creator of the universe learning to be a carpenter at Joseph’s side. He is the bread of life feeding the five thousand. He is the source of life raising Lazarus from the dead. Great is the mystery of godliness, and Jesus was God manifested in human flesh.

You could call Him “distinguished”

Christ is distinguished above all men; he is anointed with the oil of gladness above his fellows, and in his character, and in his acts he is infinitely separated from all comparison with any of the sons of men. “Thou art fairer than the children of men; grace is poured into thy lips.” He is “the chief among ten thousand and altogether lovely.” He is the rose of Sharon, the bright and morning star.

However, I want to call Him Wonderful!

Let’s focus on how wonderful this Jesus Is.

Jesus Deserves to be Called Wonderful for Who He Was.

Jesus is Wonderful for Who He IsJesus has existed for all eternity. He is the Alpha and the Omega, without beginning or end. He was the begotten of the Father from the beginning of time”

He and His Father are one, co-equal in substance and attributes. He is “very God of very God”. He who became an infant was long ago King of the Ages, Lord of Lords.

  • Before Jesus was wrapped in swaddling clothes He had been clothed in Priestley garment. Jesus had walked this earth as Melchizedek, the Priest King of Salem, whom Abraham had offered his sacrifice to.
  • Before Jesus had faced the fire of the temple soldier’s torches, he had walked in the fire of the fiery furnace, so hot that it had killed the soldier’s casting in Shadrach Meshach and Abednego.
  • Before Jesus told Peter that upon the Rock of His Confession Jesus would build His church, Jesus had already followed the Jews in the wilderness, providing water for them as the Rock of Waters.
    • 1 Cor 10:4 “And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.”
  • And while someday Jesus will descend from Heaven riding on that white horse to battle the rebellious nations, He has already appeared to Joshua as the captain of the Lord’s Army, to wage war with the evil nations in Canaan.

Jesus has been wonderful throughout the ages, long before He appeared clothed in flesh.

The angel came to Manoah to tell him he was going to have a son, who was Samson; and Manoah said to the angel, “What is your name, so that, when your words come true, we may honor you?” (Judges 13:17). And the angel said to him (v. 18), “Why do you ask my name, seeing it is wonderful?” There’s the word “pele”. Some of your translations will say “beyond understanding” or “secret.” It’s the same root word meaning wonderful. Jesus’ name has been Wonderful throughout time.

We should gather with reverence and holy awe around the throne of him who is our great Redeemer; for “his name is called Wonderful,” since he has existed before all things, and “by him all things were made; and without him was not anything made that was made.”

This God-Man, this Jesus clothed himself in worthless human flesh, and endured the weakness, the prison of this sinful flesh. He set His face toward Golgotha, and willingly submitted himself to the horrors of torture and crucifixion. Is He not Wonderful for what He endured on our behalf?

You have ever before you the picture of the King of Heaven becoming a poor, despised, persecuted slandered man on your behalf. He suffered such for your sake. Do you praise His name? Do you love Him for His great love. Do you bow in awe at such a wonderful Savior?

Look further and see His death. Gather at the foot of the cross. Watch as your creator breathes his last breath. Watch as they take him from the cross. See, his hands are limp, his body is not moving. There is no rising and falling of the chest. Our Jesus is dead. One time He spoke and the stars came into existence. He could hold the expanse of heaven in his hand, and now his human hand is bloodied and lifeless. He lies before you bloodied and naked, a thing which this world no longer even viewed as a man, and yet, His name is Wonderful, for He died for you. Here is matchless Love coming from the matchless mercy of Almighty God. “His name shall be called wonderful.”

Jesus Deserves to be Called Wonderful for Who He Is

Jesus is Wonderful for Who He IsPraise God that He did not allow His Holy One to see corruption. Praise God that Jesus led captivity captive and ascended to His throne in heaven, whereby He has given gifts to all those who believe in Him.

Is He wonderful to You?

When I was younger I knew about Jesus, but I did not hold him in awe. He was not a wonder to me. But one day there came a knock at my door. It was an ugly monster, dark and horrible. I locked the door and tried to barricade it, but the monster kept pounding on the door until he entered in. He said he had a message from God, that I was condemned to death in hell because of my sins. I was astonished, I asked him his name and he said his name was “LAW”. I gasped and fell at his feet as one who was dead. As I lay there he struck me. He struck me until every rib was broken, and my bowels were about to spring forth. My heart was melted within me, I had no strength to go on. Misery and despair gripped my heart. I could not open my eyes, but a small voice deep within was heard that said, there may be hope, there may be mercy for you. I thought then that God would see the pain of my heart and have pity because I purposed to mend my ways. But as soon as that thought crossed my mind, the blows came heavier and with greater ferocity, such that I feared for my life. Complete darkness enveloped me and I thought “I am cast from His sight, I am hated of God!”

But out of the darkness came a light, and I could sense the loving hand of Jesus Christ wiping my fevered brow. He said “Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light”

I stood up and Jesus led me to the cross, and then he vanished from my sight. But he appeared again, hanging upon that cross. I looked upon Him as he bled and suffered upon that tree. His loving eyes looked into my heart and in a moment, gazing upon His eyes, the bruises that my soul had suffered were healed. The gaping wounds were cured, the broken bones rejoiced; the rags that had all covered me were removed, and now I was clothed in a spotless garment of pure white. There was a song in my heart, for I was saved, washed, cleansed, forgiven, through Him that hung upon that tree. I wondered how such a one could love even me, how the Savior of the world could forgive me and make my soul like the surface of a quiet river, undisturbed, quiet and at ease. His name was to my spirit “Wonderful” Brothers and sisters, if you have felt this, think anew upon what Jesus did for you, and allow your heart to know His Wonder, allow your spirit to call Him wonderful!

Has He Not Continued to be Wonderful to You?

Has he been with you in sadness, in sickness, in sorrow?

Have you ever had your heart ripped out of you, only to sense Him picking it up and gently placing it back where it belongs. And then He takes you in His arms and gives you peace.

Have you ever had a trial or pressure so great that it seemed ready to crush you, and yet at the point when it seemed all was over, you could sense the hand of Jesus picking you up and feeling as if you were soaring to heaven.

When my heart was ripped out and every dream crushed in my third year of Bible College. When I wanted to give up on following God and turn back to the world, Jesus came to me in my little prayer closet and wrapped His arms around me, and though I cried for two hours straight; when I stepped out I knew He was with me, that He was and is Wonderful to me.

Through many other heartaches in my life, whether because of my own rebellion or through the meanness of others, Jesus has continued to shine His light upon my path and continued to be Wonderful beyond any human comprehension.

He uses the troubles and pressures off our lives to turn ugly clumps of coal into beautiful shiny diamonds. We are His precious jewels. You will never know the Wonder of Jesus unless you see Him from the depths of the deep places of life.

Zechariah 9:16 (NIV) The LORD their God will save them on that day as the flock of his people. They will sparkle in his land like jewels in a crown.

Jesus Deserves to be Called Wonderful for Who He Will Be

Jesus is Wonderful for Who He Will BePharaoh led his hosts into the midst of the Red Sea. The path was dry and they outnumbered the Jews. Victory was easily within their grasp. The wall of water shimmered on each side of the army, and yet was a stiff as marble. Can you imagine their astonishment when they saw those walls of water come crashing upon them? Can you hear their screams as the judgment of God fell upon them?

Acts 13:41 (NIV) “‘Look, you scoffers, wonder and perish, for I am going to do something in your days that you would never believe, even if someone told you.'”

If you are a scoffer of Christ, one who refuses to call Him wonderful, Such will be your astonishment, such will be your scream, when Christ shall come in the glory of His Father, with all the host of heaven.

Sad will be that day when the Christ, whom you despise, whom you deny to be your Savior, whose Bible you left unread, whose Gospel you rejected, will suddenly appear and you will behold and wonder and perish. You will see too late that He indeed is Wonderful.

Come Judas, give Him one last kiss.

No, I knew not the wonder of whom I kissed!

Look He is the everlasting God!

Come Herod, laugh at this Jesus one more time!

No, for I knew not the wonder of whom I mocked!

Look, He is the Everlasting King!

Come Caiaphas, curse at this Jesus one last time!

NO for I knew not the wonder of whom I cursed.

Look He is the Messiah!

Judgment Day is Coming, when the Lamb that was slain will judge the nations and peoples both dead and living.

Is Jesus Wonderful to You?Yet in spite of the horrors of that day, the crying, the screaming as God’s wrath is finally poured out upon unrepentant man. Over the cries of “Rocks, hide us, mountains, fall on us!”

Do you hear it? It is the worship of saints around the throne.

Do you hear them cry “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of hosts, for thou wast slain, and thou hast risen from the dead; worthy art thou to live and reign, when death itself is dead?”

Do ye hear them? It is all song, and no shriek. Do ye see them? It is all joy, and no terror. His name to them is Wonderful; It is the wonder of admiration, the wonder of ecstasy, the wonder of affection, and not the wonder of horror and dismay.

Saints of the Lord! We shall know the wonders of his name, when we shall see him as he is, and shall be like him in the day of his appearing.

He comes—he comes—he comes; and when he comes, you shall well say of him as you meet him with joy,  “Thy name is called Wonderful. All hail! all hail! all hail!”

Charles Spurgeon, was a great preacher in the 19th century in England. At that time he was probably the most popular preacher in England, and the people kept coming from everywhere to hear him preach, particularly the working-class people. They loved to hear Spurgeon preach. At one point his church had outgrown one facility after another, so they rented a kind of theater. It was called The Surrey Music Hall. It seated 12-15,000 people, and in October of 1856, Spurgeon preached in this rented facility for the first time.The music hall was packed to capacity, and apparently there were thousands more outside who couldn’t get a seat inside the auditorium. As the service started, someone yelled “Fire!” and pandemonium broke out. Seven people were killed in what resulted, and many people were injured.
The whole experience deeply affected Charles Spurgeon, as you might imagine, for all of his life. It really just took the life out of him. Nearly two years after that event, he spoke about what he had been through and how God had restored him.
Here’s what he said: I may not have told in your hearing the story of my own woe. Perhaps never a soul went so near the burning furnace of insanity and yet came away unharmed. I have walked by that fire until these locks seem to be crisp with the heat thereof. My brain was racked.
I dared not look up to God, and prayer that was once my solace caused me fear and terror if I attempted it.
He went into a deep depression following this accident. He said, I shall never forget the time when I first became restored to myself. It was in the garden of a friend. I was walking, solitary and alone. Musing upon my misery, much cheered as that was by the kindness of my loving friend, yet far too heavy for my soul to bear, when suddenly the name of Jesus flashed through my mind.
The person of Christ seemed visible to me. I stood still. The burning lava of my soul was cooled. My agonies were hushed. I bowed myself there, and a garden that had seemed a Gethsemane became to me a paradise. And then it seems so strange to me that naught should have brought me back but that name of Jesus. I thought indeed at that time that I should love him better all days of my life.
But there were two things I wondered at. I wondered that He should be so good to me, and I wondered more that I should have been so ungrateful to Him. But His name has been, from that time, Wonderful to me.

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What a Blessed day of Thanksgiving for God and His Reign! “Thy will be done on earth just as it is in heaven!” But obviously California is exempt from God’s Will. Today Maureen Dowd published a little article titled “Gay marriage on the rocks” In it she quotes: “Feinstein felt sure that gays who have been married in the state since June are still married. “You can’t redact it,” she said. blot-out-gay-marriagesYou can’t blot it out. It’s so intrinsic to the Constitution that you cannot remove it by a vote of the people.” Jerry Brown, the California attorney general who is also featured in the archival reels in “Milk” from his days as governor, agreed: “I believe those are valid,” he told me, saying that he will argue in the appeal before the state Supreme Court that there cannot be “a retroactive invalidation of these marital contracts.”

I never realized that sodomite marriage was such an intrinsic part of the Constitution of the United States. It must be a ‘California thing’. Jerry Brown says he will argue against the invalidation of these ‘contracts’, saying that they were valid. I realize I live in a world far removed from California, but I see marriage as much more than a ‘contract’. Besides, aren’t contracts meant to be broken? Isn’t that what lawyers do all the time?

GAY MARRIAGEI perform weddings as a mudpreacher, and I always point out to the couples that they are engaging in a marriage covenant, and the authority for that covenant is God’s Word. God has ordained marriage as an institution of His design. God's Law the Authority for MarriageThere are so many pictures of His relationship with us that are seen in a God-ordained marriage. That is why the corruption of the institution of marriage is a reflection of the corruption of our relationship with Jehovah God, the Covenant keeping God.

It may not seem ‘fair’ to invalidate these ‘contracts’ because of the vote of the people according to California law, But it is perfectly “JUST” according to God’s Law. In fact something very similar happened almost 3000 years ago, when the remnant Jews re-discovered the authority of God’s Law. After reading God’s Word for the first time in 70 years, the remnant Jews realized that they had married women not allowed by God’s Word. They reached a decision in unity-we must put away these wives, even if there are children. We must “redact” these marriages in order to obey God’s law! I remember reading Ezra 9 & 10 as a teenager and getting sick at my stomach when I thought of men getting rid of their wives and children. It did not seem “fair”. God dealt with my heart through several revelations of His Sovereignty in my life, and I now understand that this world is not about me and you, it is about God! When I center my thinking and my heart upon the Word of God, I understand that God Reigns and we must obey. That was the point of Ezra 9 & 10. Read the account of how this unfolds:

Ezr 9:1-7 Now when these things had been completed, the leaders approached me and said, “The people of Israel, the priests, and the Levites have not separated themselves from the local residents who practice detestable things similar to those of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians, and the Amorites. Indeed, they have taken some of their daughters as wives for themselves and for their sons, so that the holy race has become intermingled with the local residents. Worse still, the leaders and the officials have been at the forefront of all of this!” When I heard this report, I tore my tunic and my robe and ripped out some of the hair from my head and beard. Then I sat down, quite devastated. Everyone who held the words of the God of Israel in awe gathered around me because of the unfaithful acts of the people of the exile. Devastated, I continued to sit there until the evening offering. At the time of the evening offering I got up from my self-abasement, with my tunic and robe torn, and then dropped to my knees and spread my hands to the LORD my God. I prayed, ‘O my God, I am ashamed and embarrassed to lift my face to you, my God! For our iniquities have climbed higher than our heads, and our guilt extends to the heavens.  From the days of our fathers until this very day our guilt has been great. Because of our iniquities we, along with our kings and priests, have been delivered over by the local kings to sword, captivity, and plunder, and embarrassment— right up to the present time.

Of course, if you do not hold the Words of God in awe, you will do as you please. But if you DO hold the Word of God in awe, you will choose to obey His Word. This is what the remnant of Jews chose to do in the restored Jerusalem. They were standing amidst a graphic picture of the results of NOT obeying God’s Word. They were standing amidst the ruins of one of the grandest cities of all time, Jerusalem. That mighty city and nation had been utterly destroyed by invaders because a few years earlier the people had not obeyed God’s Law, nor obeyed the warnings of His Prophets.

The account of Ezra continues:

ezra weeps before the Lord GodEzra 10:1-5 While Ezra was praying and confessing, weeping and throwing himself to the ground before the temple of God, a very large crowd of Israelites — men, women, and children alike — gathered around him. The people wept loudly. Then Shecaniah son of Jehiel, from the descendants of Elam, addressed Ezra:  “We have been unfaithful to our God by marrying foreign women from the local peoples. Nevertheless, there is still hope for Israel in this regard. Therefore let us enact a covenant with our God to send away all these women and their offspring, in keeping with your counsel, my lord, and that of those who respect the commandments of our God. And let it be done according to the law. Get up, for this matter concerns you. We are with you, so be strong and act decisively!”So Ezra got up and made the leading priests and Levites and all Israel take an oath to carry out this plan. And they all took a solemn oath.

The people made an oath to follow God’s Law. Ezra continues:

Ezra 10:10-12 “Then Ezra the priest stood up and said to them, “You have behaved in an unfaithful manner by taking foreign wives! This has contributed to the guilt of Israel. Now give praise to the LORD God of your fathers, and do his will. Separate yourselves from the local residents and from these foreign wives.” All the assembly replied in a loud voice: “We will do just as you have said!”

gods-word-vs-society1Everyone wants to know and experience God today. There is a great rise of ‘spirituality’ in America, indeed throughout the world. These people in Ezra wanted to know God as well. They read His word, and God revealed Himself to them, but in that revelation, they realized they had sinned against God. There can be no relationship with the True God without dealing with our sin. Any sense of spirituality we may have must have an antidote to the sin that curses our lives. That antidote is Jesus Christ. It is not our praise, our prayers, our ‘goodness’ that brings God into our lives. It is what Jesus Christ has done and our embracing of Him that makes us ‘accepted’ in the Beloved. Jesus Christ fulfilled the stringent requirements of God’s Law and His Holiness. Only when our lives are “in Christ” do we have forgiveness and acceptance before Jehovah God.

Is Your Name in God's Book of Life?

Is Your Name in God's Book of Life

We must be willing to follow God’s Word. We must hold His Word in awe! We must be willing to separate ourselves from the foolishness of this world and submit our will and world view to the Word of God! It may be difficult to invalidate these sodomite marriages, and certainly result in hardship and hurt, but the law must be obeyed. America is a great nation because of our laws! Obedience to those laws is the bedrock of the American Society. You may cry “You can’t blot it out!” but the truth is we must. We must obey God’s Word! If we stiffen our neck and close our ears to God, we ourselves will be blotted out.  Exodus 32:33 warns: “And the LORD said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book.” Praise God, we have a Savior, Jesus Christ. He is the guarantee that our sins will be blotted out, and we will be in God’s Book of Life.

As Colossians 2:14 proclaims:

Jesus Bloted out our sins

Jesus Blotted out our sins

“Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross”.  Praise God for His great love for us, that through the sacrifice of His Son, our sins would be blotted out and nailed to that horrible cross.

Obedience to God’s Word should be the bedrock of our lives. Anything else results in following a false god of our own making. Anything else will result in you being blotted out of God’s book. May you live a life of Thanksgiving because you enjoy Jehovah God living in you through Jesus Christ!


I enjoy relaxing on Mondays, my supposed day off. I like to read the various news feeds I have, and one led me to look into a new Bible which has been recently published.  It got my blood boiling just a bit, especially when I heard a lady in this video clip say something like “There is nothing wrong with using people in the media and entertainment world as role models. They do a lot of good!” Sad to say, most people think like her. Why else would we use celebrities and rock stars to sell God and His Word? Bible Illuminated“Bible Illuminated: The Book” is a new Bible that contains “striking, provocative, contemporary photographs” of world news as well as celebrities such as Angelina Jolie and Bono, according to illuminatedworld.com.

joanrivers2On top of this I was greeted by my favorite sliced and diced celebrity in the Kansas City Star this morning. In a little blurb in the FYI section, Joan Rivers is quoted as saying: “I wish I could say I was a religious person,” she said. “I believe in God, but I also think God dropped you on Earth and said, ‘I’m giving you brains, you can think. I’ve given you all these things now go and do it.’ I don’t believe that God’s looking down on each of us and saying, ‘Oh, Joan has gained 4 pounds, I’m going to let her lose weight today.’ No, he’s saying, ‘I gave you a brain, now get out of my face.’” (Clearly God had nothing to do with your face-that is now totally man-made)

So I wanted to find out, what do Celebrities and Rock Stars (our role models according to some) have to say about God? In fact, since Angelina is featured in “Bible Illuminated”, what does she believe?

angelina_jolie_When Angelina Jolie was asked “Is there a God?” by “The Onion”, she replied: “Hmm… For some people, I hope so, for them. For the people who believe in it, I hope so. There doesn’t need to be a God for me. There’s something in people that’s spiritual, that’s godlike. I don’t feel like doing things just because people say things, but I also don’t really know if it’s better to just not believe in anything, either.”

So Angelina doesn’t need a God! Sounds like a great role model for selling God’s Word!

God According to Celebrities and Rock Stars

Here are just a few more samples of ‘God according to Celebrities and Rock Stars’:

When asked by the Onion “Is there a God?” Trey Anastasio (sings and plays guitar in rock band Phish): “[Pauses.] I should have had a quick, witty answer to that question, but I missed my window. I’ll say… I don’t know if there’s a God.”

Onion: … People look for the solution to life’s issues through celebrities and rock stars. (I know that is where I look!-mudpreacher)

treyanastasioTrey Anastasio: That’s the most bizarre thing I’ve ever heard in my life, that anyone would… Did you ever see the episode of The Simpsons where Lisa becomes a vegetarian? She tells Homer about how she met Paul and Linda McCartney, and he says, “Rock stars. Is there anything they don’t know?” I think that really sums it up. If there is a God, He’s definitely a rock star. (Oh No! Now the Simpson’s are the authorities! Are they our role models too?)

plimpton_01_bodyMartha Plimpton’s (remember Goonies?): God exists, and He lives in all the little salt particles in children’s tears all over Africa. (That is so cute, and touching. Imagine, a God of salt! Remember Lot’s wife? Maybe she turned into Martha’s god.)

Two years later the Onion asked some more “stars” (The Onion in 2002):

leguizamoJohn Leguizamo (actor): Yeah, but there’s not just one God. There’s a whole lot of gods, because one God couldn’t have possibly made so many mistakes all by Himself. This had to be done by committee. (Now God makes mistakes, and with so many mistakes, he must be a whole bunch of gods.)

stevenwrightSteven Wright: Ahhh… You’ll have to ask Jesus. (The mudpreacher actually likes this answer, because Jesus said “I am the way, the truth and the life, no man comes to the Father but by me)

chris_matthewsChris Matthews (hosts Hardball With Chris Matthews every weeknight on MSNBC) Yes. In 1978, I was in a plane situation, flying in a plane without air pressure. I’d never been in a situation where the air was disappearing from the cabin, where you had to put the mask on, and I was scared to death. I didn’t know whether I could get air, and I remember putting on the oxygen mask—scared to death that it wouldn’t work—and at that moment, I imagined God. He was a guy with a beard, Jewish probably, although not overly ethnic, from 2,000 years ago. I imagine Jesus as God. That’s my only response to that question. (I am so glad to know that God revealed himself to Chris. I am disappointed that he didn’t see for sure that God is Jewish. It makes sense though, since Jesus was Jewish.)

bill-maherBill Maher (From a June 07, 2006 article titled Bill Maher takes on Religion in New Documentary in SlashFilm): “I’m not an atheist. There’s a really big difference between an atheist and someone who just doesn’t believe in religion. Religion to me is a bureaucracy between man and God that I don’t need. But I’m not an atheist, no.” I believe there’s some force. If you want to call it God… I don’t believe God is a single parent who writes books. I think that the people who think God wrote a book called The Bible are just childish. Religion is so childish. What they’re fighting about in the Middle East, it’s so childish. These myths, these silly little stories that they believe in fundamentally, that they take over this little space in Jerusalem where one guy flew up to heaven? No, no, this guy performed a sacrifice here a thousand million years ago. It’s like, “Who cares? What does that have to do with spirituality, where you’re really trying to get, as a human being and as a soul moving in the universe?” But I do believe in a God, yes.” (Excuse me, but I need a translator to figure this comment out)

jacknicholson1Jack Nicholson: (1992 interview in Vanity Fair) “I don’t believe in God now,” but he added that “I can still work up an envy for someone who has a faith. I can see how that could be a deeply soothing experience.” (Jack has a soft side after all! Let’s pray he softens further until he comes to Jesus!)

woodyallenWoody Allen: “If it turns out that there is a God, I don’t think that he’s evil. But the worst that you can say about him is that basically he’s an underachiever.” (It would be a scary thing to see the world through this man’s eyes) “I do not believe in an afterlife, although I am bringing a change of underwear.” (Cute, but a change of underwear won’t help where you are going)

carrie_fisher_21Carrie Fisher: “I love the idea of God, but it’s not stylistically in keeping with the way I function. I would describe myself as an enthusiastic agnostic who would be happy to be shown that there is a God. I can see that people who believe in God are happier. My brother is. My dad is, too. But I doubt.” as recorded by Jon Winokur, editor, in The Portable Curmudgeon Redux, 1992, p. 302.  (Does she mean that God does not go with her shoes?)

julianne-moore640x4806Julianne Moore (Actor’s Studio December 22, 2002): The host asked (paraphrased) “What would you say to God at the pearly gates?” Moore answered (not paraphrased) “Wow, I was wrong, you really do exist.” (Sorry Julianne, but you will never even get close to the pearly gates)

sorvino_mira2Mira Sorvino: According to an interview in the August 15-17, 1997 issue of USA Weekend, when Sorvino was little girl, she was horrified after learning about the genocide perpetrated by Idi Amin in Uganda in the 1970s. When USA Weekend asked about her reaction to these horrors, Sorvino said, “I couldn’t believe a conscientious God would let so many people get killed. These things blew my mind. In a way, I couldn’t understand the world.” (Boo-Hoo, God gets blamed for so many things that we don’t understand)

robertredfordRobert Redford (Playboy magazine, November 2007): Problems can’t be solved with one way of thinking. If anything is my guide, nature is. That’s where my spirituality is. I don’t believe in organized religion, because I don’t believe people should be organized in how they think, in what they believe. That has never been driven home as hard as with this administration. When somebody thinks God speaks to him, you’ve got trouble. If God is speaking to the president, he’s speaking with a forked tongue, because the behavior of this administration doesn’t seem very godlike or spiritual. (Nature speaks the truth and God speaks with a forked tongue…Have you ever read about the serpent and Adam and Eve? I think you have it backward!)

dillerPhyllis Diller (Nov 2001) How does she {Phyllis Diller} visualize the hereafter? “There isn’t any, you dingbat!” she replies as she lets out that legendary, raucous laugh: Ahhha… Ha… Ha… Ha… Haaah. This is it, baby! Enjoy, carefully! Religion is such a medieval idea. Don’t get me started. I have thought about every facet of religion and I can’t buy any of it.” She pauses and with a subtle smile continues; “So God made man in His own image? It’s just the other way around. Man made God in his own image.” (Sad but true, most people make a god that fits their ‘style’, one who goes with their own way of living!)

cyndi_lauper-at_lastCyndi Lauper: God has more important things to worry about than who I sleep with. (I don’t even know how to respond to this)

ellen_logoEllen DeGeneres: In the beginning there was nothing. God said, ‘Let there be light!’ And there was light. There was still nothing, but you could see it a whole lot better. (Ellen, is everything a joke to you? Better get all your laughs now, because there will be no stand-up comedy in Hell!)

anistonJennifer Aniston: I don’t have a religion. I believe in a God. I don’t know what it looks like but it’s MY god. My own interpretation of the supernatural. (Finally an honest celebrity that admits she has made her own god!)

And then there are those who think they are God: Voice Of God Revealed To Be Cheney On Intercom “In a transcript of an intercom exchange recorded in March 2002, a voice positively identified as the vice president’s identifies himself as “the Lord thy God” and promotes the invasion of Iraq, as well as the use of torture in prisoner interrogations.” (I believe this was a spoof, but it is very funny. It could explain some things)voice-of-god-Cheney to Bush

I find all of these comments amusing, but unsettling, because so many people do indeed look up to these people as role models. Our society is heavily influenced by the entertainment world. I laugh when I think of what the True Creator God is thinking. He reveals His thoughts to us in Psalms 2. The Message Translation is quite descriptive:

Why the big noise, nations? Why the mean plots, peoples? Earth-leaders push for position, Demagogues and delegates meet for summit talks, The God-deniers, the Messiah-defiers: “Let’s get free of God! Cast loose from Messiah!” Heaven-throned God breaks out laughing. At first he’s amused at their presumption; Then he gets good and angry. Furiously, he shuts them up:  “Don’t you know there’s a King in Zion? A coronation banquet Is spread for him on the holy summit.” Psalms 2:1-6 (MSG)

One day (soon I believe) all the gossip rags will be kindling for those who denied Jesus Christ, and calloused their heart to the truth of their Creator God. They worshipped a god of their own making, and experienced the truth of Romans 1:25-26 (MSG):

“And all this because they traded the true God for a fake god, and worshiped the god they made instead of the God who made them—the God we bless, the God who blesses us. Oh, yes!  Worse followed. Refusing to know God, they soon didn’t know how to be human either—women didn’t know how to be women, men didn’t know how to be men.”

God reveals in Romans 1 the result of making and worshipping your own goddepravity, lack of shame, loss of moral values. Isn’t that everything Hollywood and Rock and Roll stands for? Anything goes-without apology, without shame.

Well, at least I kind of like Bono being pictured in the Bible. In Bono: In Conversation with Michka Assayas (Riverhead Books), he mentioned his belief in Jesus Christ as the Son of God. Assayas questions that:

Assayas: That’s a great idea, no denying it. Such great hope is wonderful, even though it’s close to lunacy, in my view. Christ has his rank among the world’s great thinkers. But Son of God, isn’t that farfetched?

bono-767664Bono: No, it’s not farfetched to me. Look, the secular response to the Christ story always goes like this: he was a great prophet, obviously a very interesting guy, had a lot to say along the lines of other great prophets, be they Elijah, Muhammad, Buddha, or Confucius. But actually Christ doesn’t allow you that. He doesn’t let you off that hook. Christ says: No. I’m not saying I’m a teacher, don’t call me teacher. I’m not saying I’m a prophet. I’m saying: “I’m the Messiah.” I’m saying: “I am God incarnate.” And people say: No, no, please, just be a prophet. A prophet, we can take. You’re a bit eccentric. We’ve had John the Baptist eating locusts and wild honey, we can handle that. But don’t mention the “M” word! Because, you know, we’re gonna have to crucify you. And he goes: No, no. I know you’re expecting me to come back with an army, and set you free from these creeps, but actually I am the Messiah. At this point, everyone starts staring at their shoes, and says: Oh, my God, he’s gonna keep saying this. So what you’re left with is: either Christ was who He said He was—the Messiah—or a complete nutcase. I mean, we’re talking nutcase on the level of Charles Manson. This man was like some of the people we’ve been talking about earlier. This man was strapping himself to a bomb, and had “King of the Jews” on his head, and, as they were putting him up on the Cross, was going: OK, martyrdom, here we go. Bring on the pain! I can take it. I’m not joking here. The idea that the entire course of civilization for over half of the globe could have its fate changed and turned upside-down by a nutcase, for me, that’s farfetched …

Bono, you hit it right on the head. This world is hurtling through space toward a head-on collision with the truth of God Word. That’s why the time has come to heed the warning from God’s Word:

Psalms 2:10-12 (MSG) “So, rebel-kings, use your heads; Upstart-judges, learn your lesson: Worship God in adoring embrace, Celebrate in trembling awe. Kiss Messiah! Your very lives are in danger, you know; His anger is about to explode, But if you make a run for God—you won’t regret it!”


Jonahs family eats fish at ThanksgivingIn 1983 I took a trip to Turkey sponsored by the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, OPIC. It was a government sponsored trip to seek investment opportunities in Turkey. My last night I spent in Izmir having dinner with my interpreter and a business owner interested in doing business in America. They ordered for me and out came this huge Black Sea Bass (whole) sitting upright on a potato concoction. I ate the fish, but that night I got deathly sick, so sick I missed my early morning flight to Istanbul. That fish gave me nightmares for several months, because it meant that I had to rent a car and drive 600 kilometers through at least three military check points, in unfamiliar towns and then into Istanbul late at night trying to find a place to stay. It was an exciting and terrifying experience to say the least. Mudpreachers experience with fishThat is why I don’t like eating whole fish to this day. The book of Jonah relates a story that you are all familiar with, of a man who tried to run away from God’s will, and ended up being swallowed by a giant fish. Now if I had problems eating fish after my experience, I can just see Jonah being afraid to get on a ship or even go near the ocean or a lake. Every time he would hear a splash I can just see him running for cover. But when I read what he wrote in chapter 2, I know that isn’t the case. In fact from the Psalm he wrote, I know that every Thanksgiving, Jonah would eat the biggest fish he could get.

Jonah eats the biggest fish he can catch

Jonah eats the biggest fish he can catch

Jonah says in his Psalm recorded in chapter 2: “But I with the voice of thanksgiving will I sacrifice to you” This he prayed while still in the fishes belly.

The Hebrew word for Thanksgiving has in view a Choir Singing Tremendous Songs of Praise, accompanied by a huge orchestra. People with SHOUTS of Jubilation!

The word depicts worship by the presentation of songs of thanksgiving and praise that extolled the mighty wonders of the Lord (Neh. 12:27; Ps. 26:7; Isa. 51:3). It refers to shouts of jubilation and thanksgiving (Ps. 42:4[5]; Jon. 2:9[10]). It describes the purpose of the choirs used by Nehemiah, i.e., they were choirs of praise (Neh. 12:31, 38).—Complete Word Study Dictionary, The

Walldedicated with todaWhen Nehemiah dedicated the wall he had all the leaders get on the wall and had a huge assembly of Levites playing instruments and singing praises to God. This is the picture Jonah presented in his prayer while lodged deep in the stinking stomach of a huge fish! Now how was Jonah able to praise God while he was deep in the belly of a stinking fish? Because Jonah had a firsthand lesson in something which many of us are not familiar with.

Would that our Thanksgivings featured such spontaneous expressions of Joy and Rejoicing over what God has done in our lives.

Face it, most of our Thanksgiving meals consist of a few arguments over such and such, a short prayer of blessing, then maybe a forced “What are You Thankful For?’ and then the guys go and watch football or go to a movie or such like that. Even in my family I can’t recall spontaneous shouts of Joy over what God has been doing.

Festival of BoothsGod wanted His people to have festivals and feasts where there was spontaneous rejoicing! One Such Event was the Festival of Booths held once a year in the Fall:

Leviticus 23:39-43 (KJV) Also in the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when ye have gathered in the fruit of the land, ye shall keep a feast unto the LORD seven days: on the first day shall be a sabbath, and on the eighth day shall be a sabbath. And ye shall take you on the first day the boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook; and ye shall rejoice before the LORD your God seven days. And ye shall keep it a feast unto the LORD seven days in the year. It shall be a statute forever in your generations: ye shall celebrate it in the seventh month. Ye shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths: That your generations may know that I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.

Sovereignty vs. Thanksgiving

Sovereignty of God vs ThanksgivingThe story of Jonah is so appropriate at the time of Thanksgiving, because it addresses the conflict that most of us experience at this holiday time. This is the conflict we have between our experiences with the Sovereignty of God and the Joy (or lack of it) we feel in our Soul!

We used to know what the Sovereignty of God is. The Pilgrims who settled in America had a profound sense of the Sovereignty of God…

On November 11, 1620, Governor William Bradford and the leaders on the Mayflower signed the Mayflower Compact before setting foot on land. They wanted to acknowledge God’s sovereignty in their lives and their need to obey Him. The Mayflower Compact was America’s first great constitutional document and is often called “The American Covenant.”

Life was hard in the New World. Out of 103 Pilgrims, 51 of these died in the first terrible winter. After the first harvest was completed, Governor William Bradford proclaimed a day of thanksgiving and prayer. By 1623, a day of fasting and prayer during a period of drought was changed to one of thanksgiving because the rain came during their prayers. The custom prevailed in New England and eventually became a national holiday.

Because they understood the Sovereignty of God they could rejoice regardless of whether there was rain or drought, death or life. We have lost our concept of what the Sovereignty of God is. Let me share just a bit from AW Pink:

From (AW PINK, SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD)

The sovereignty of God! What do we mean by this expression? We mean the supremacy of God, the kingship of God, the Godhood of God. To say that God is sovereign is to declare that God is God. To say that God is sovereign is to declare that He is the Most High, doing according to His will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth, so that none can stay His hand or say unto Him, What doest Thou? (Daniel 4:35). To say that God is sovereign is to declare that He is the Almighty, the possessor of all power in heaven and earth, so that none can defeat His counsels, thwart His purposes, or resist His will (Psalms 115:3). To say that God is sovereign is to declare that He is “The Governor among the nations” (Psalms 22:28), setting up kingdoms, over-throwing empires, and determining the course of dynasties as pleases Him best. To say that God is sovereign is to declare that He is the “Only Potentate, the King of kings, and the Lord of lords” (1Timothy 6:15). Such is the God of the Bible. The sovereignty of the God of Scripture is absolute, irresistible, infinite. When we declare that God is sovereign, we affirm His right to govern the universe, which He has made for His own glory, just as He pleases. We affirm that His right is the right of the Potter over the clay: that He may mould that clay into whatsoever form He chooses, fashioning out of the same lump one vessel unto honor and another unto dishonor. We affirm that He is under no rule or law outside His own will and nature, that God is a law unto Himself, and that He is under no obligation to give an account of His matters to any.”

The Exercise of His Supremacy

The sovereignty of God may be defined as the exercise of His supremacy. Being infinitely elevated above the highest creature, He is the Most High, Lord of heaven and earth. Subject to none, influenced by none, absolutely independent; God does as He pleases, only as He pleases, always as He pleases. None can thwart Him, none can hinder Him. So His own Word expressly declares: “My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure” ( Isaiah 46:10); “He doeth according to His will in the army of heaven, and the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay His hand” ( Daniel 4:35).

Divine sovereignty means that God is God in fact, as well as in name, that He is on the Throne of the universe, directing all things, working all things “after the counsel of His own will” (Ephesians 1:11).

We affirm that He is Sovereign in the exercise of His power. His power is exercised as He wills, when He wills, where He wills.

  • God is Sovereign in the exercise of His mercy
  • God is Sovereign in the exercise of His love
  • God is Sovereign in the exercise of His grace.

God’s Throne is Supreme

  • To declare that God is frustrated by sin, is to dethrone God.
  • To say that God has no control over the evil of this world is to dethrone God
  • To say that God has no control over the bad things that happen in our lives is to dethrone God.

Sovereignty speaks of God’s divine control over everything that happens. There is nothing outside the control of his loving hand. Romans 8:28 tells us that all things work together for the good of God’s children and verses 38- 39 implies that there is nothing beyond the control of God’s sovereign hand. God’s sovereignty reminds Christians to fear nothing as God is always in charge, no matter how dreadful the situation.—AMG’s Encyclopedia of Bible Facts

We have lost our sense of God and His Sovereignty in our churches, our preaching, our Thanksgivings!

Man-Centered vs God-Centered

A recent survey found the number one question people would ask God is “Why do you allow suffering?”

Instead of focusing on God and His Sovereign Right to Act as His Nature Dictates, we focus on ourselves and we go “boo-hoo”, why did you do this why did you allow that. We are so man-centered, that every time something doesn’t go our way we shake our fist at God!

When you learn to focus on the Sovereign Will of God, you trust in an all powerful God who works His Glory in whatever happens in your life! You know that nothing is by accident, that He is working all to accomplish what please Him, in accordance with His Word and His Nature!

The whole issue is whether we live lives that are man-centered or God-centered.

In the Book of Jonah we see an obstinate, self-centered man who runs headlong into the mighty Sovereignty of God.jonah centered

Jonah-Centered

  • Jonah centered world results in captivity
    • Jonah wanted to do what he wanted when he wanted
    • He was swallowed by the fish, held captive.
  • Jonah centered world results in damnation.
    • Jonah experienced Hell.
    • The people of Nineveh were doomed.
  • Jonah centered world results in anger and hatred.
    • Jonah was mad that Nineveh was saved.
    • Mad at what God had done.
    • Dependent on Circumstances

God-Centered

  • God-centered world results in deliverance from the storms of life
    • Sailor saved
    • Jonah rescued
  • God-centered world results in deliverance from the hell of life
    • Jonah deleverd from the Hell of the fish.
  • God-centered world results in deliverance from sin
    • Nineveh repented and was saved
  • God-centered world results in Rejoicing and Thanksgiving
    • The people of Nineveh rejoiced because God spared them
  • Jonah learned to shut up and started eating Big Fish

Why Does a God Centered World result in Repentance, Deliverance, Mercy and Salvation?

  1. The Sovereignty of God means that God seeks to Deliver Repentant man.God seeks to deliver repentant man
  2. The Sovereignty of God means that God’s Mercy is for Repentant manGods Mercy is upon repentant man
  3. Gods Salvation is for repentant manThe Sovereignty of God means Salvation for Repentant man.

We have so much to rejoice in. If you have turned from you sin and embraced Jesus as your Savior, Rejoice, you have been delivered, you are wrapped in the Mercy of God, You are being saved. Rejoice and tell your relatives – make em think you are crazy. Jonah was stinking like a fish when he told the people of God’s coming judgment. Rejoice because God is sovereign. Why don’t you put God on His Throne in Your Life!!! He is on His throne. Whatever you are going through, all you need to do is repent of your sins and rejoice in God’s Mercy. He will do all according to His Will.

YOUR CHOICE

You can live this Thanksgiving Man-centered or God centered.

You Can Brood and Burn in Pain!

You can be on your own throne or you can submit to God on His throne. Jonah go upset at God for bringing revival to Nineveh. God asked him: “Do You Do Well to be Angry?”(Jonah 4:4)

That little word angry is “hara” which means to cause fire to burn- pictures a “burning sensation in your throat.” This is a kindling or simmering of anger. When you put your self on the throne you set in motion the kindling of your soul as you react to what God does in your life. Instead of praise and spontaneous rejoicing, your throat is burning, your are mad and resentful because God has not done as YOU wanted.

You can Seek God and BURN BRIGHT with Joy!

Psalms 105:3 (ESV) Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice!

You can realize God is Sovereign and is actively governing as He pleases upon His throne. You can repent of your selfishness and sin and seek after Almighty God and His reign over your life.

Then you will know SAMAH!

  • SAMAH means to burn bright, to make joyful, merry. This joy comes from within your heart and lights up your eyes! (TWOT)
  • SAMAH results in spontaneous emotion and extreme happiness which is expressed in some visible manner.
  • When David killed Goliath, the women danced in the streets and shouted with JOY! (! Sam 18:6)

Psalms 32:11 (ESV) Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!

The True Shining City on the HillPresident Ronald Reagan gave a famous farewell speech on Jan 11, 1989. He talked about the “shining city on the Hill”:

The past few days when I’ve been at that window upstairs, I’ve thought a bit of the ‘shining city upon a hill.’ The phrase comes from John Winthrop, who wrote it to describe the America he imagined. What he imagined was important because he was an early Pilgrim, an early freedom man. He journeyed here on what today we’d call a little wooden boat; and like the other Pilgrims, he was looking for a home that would be free. I’ve spoken of the shining city all my political life, but I don’t know if I ever quite communicated what I saw when I said it. But in my mind it was a tall, proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, windswept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace; a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity. And if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here. That’s how I saw it, and see it still.

And how stands the city on this winter night? More prosperous, more secure, and happier than it was 8 years ago. But more than that: After 200 years, two centuries, she still stands strong and true on the granite ridge, and her glow has held steady no matter what storm. And she’s still a beacon, still a magnet for all who must have freedom, for all the pilgrims from all the lost places who are hurtling through the darkness, toward home.

America may no longer be that shining City on the Hill, but God still Reigns. He still seeks men to repent and come to Him. All the financial and political travail that is going on is the Throne of God giving us one last chance to Repent and Honor Him as Sovereign God!

One day He will place His Son on that Shining City on the Hill, Jerusalem. All nations will come to Him there. He will reign.

Do you know King Jesus as your Savior. Is His Father your Sovereign Lord? Jesus died on the cross to pay for your sins. He paid the price for your freedom with His precious sinless blood. Will you come to Him?  Will you repent of your sins and say “Jesus I need you to be my Savior!” Will you come and make Him your Lord, so that He can shine bright in your life?

God Still Reigns. God is Sovereign.

Samah - Jumping for JoyWhat will be your visible expression of joy before God this thanksgiving!!!!

Will You allow God to be on His throne in your life? Will you jump for joy because of his deliverance, his mercy, his salvation for you?

That which you think has most injured your life, God can enable you to rejoice in it, even eat it! Never fear it! Even if it swallows you!

Barack Obama is wasting little time to assume control of the United States Executive Branch. From weekly messages from his semi-oval office, to appearances on “ 60 Minutes”, he is rapidly inserting himself into what is left of the political decisions of the Bush Administration. Change.gov: The Office of the President-elect

In summarizing Obama’s appearance on “60 Minutes” last night, the LA Times said:

teamofrivals1“Asked by CBS’ Steve Kroft whether he planned to put political enemies in his Cabinet, as Abraham Lincoln did, Obama responded by saying the first president from Illinois was a “very wise man.” With the economy struggling, the president-elect said the nation had little choice but to boost government spending, something he said conservative and liberal economists agreed on. “We have to do whatever it takes to get this economy moving again,” he said. “We’re going to have to spend money now to stimulate the economy.” Besides Lincoln, Obama said he had been reading about the Great Depression and President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s first 100 days in office. He said he hoped his team could emulate that administration’s confidence and willingness to experiment.“

The London Times Online had this take on the interview: “Mr Obama said he had spent “a lot of time” reading the writings of President Lincoln since the election, because “there is a wisdom there and a humility about his approach to government, even before he was president, that I just find very helpful.” He and Mrs Clinton have both read and admired ‘Team of Rivals’, Doris Kearns Goodwin’s book about how President Lincoln bought old foes into government after winning the 1860 election. Reminded that the 16th president put many of his political enemies in his cabinet, Mr Obama was asked on CBS’s 60 Minutes whether he was considering the same approach. “Well, I’ll tell you what,” he replied. “I find him a very wise man.”

Baruch writing the words of Jeremiah

Baruch writing the words of Jeremiah

It would be interesting if Barack included an enemy or two on his cabinet, as President Lincoln did. However, most leaders do not like the idea of opposition. In another troublesome time many years ago, in the nation of Israel, the King of Judah listened as the writings of a man named Baruch were read. You can read what happened in Jeremiah chapter 36. The King’s advisors had heard Baruch reading from a scroll and were frightened by what they heard.

“When they heard all the messages, they looked at one another in alarm. “We must tell the king what we have heard,” they said to Baruch. “But first, tell us how you got these messages. Did they come directly from Jeremiah?” So Baruch explained, “Jeremiah dictated them, and I wrote them down in ink, word for word, on this scroll.” “You and Jeremiah should both hide,” the officials told Baruch. “Don’t tell anyone where you are!” Then the officials left the scroll for safekeeping in the room of Elishama the secretary and went to tell the king what had happened.” Jeremiah 36:16-20 (NLT)

King Jehoiakim had his trusted aide Jehudi read the scroll to him.cut_it_with_the_penknife

“It was late autumn, and the king was in a winterized part of the palace, sitting in front of a fire to keep warm. Each time Jehudi finished reading three or four columns, the king took a knife and cut off that section of the scroll. He then threw it into the fire, section by section, until the whole scroll was burned up. Neither the king nor his attendants showed any signs of fear or repentance at what they heard. Even when Elnathan, Delaiah, and Gemariah begged the king not to burn the scroll, he wouldn’t listen.” Jeremiah 36:22-25 (NLT)

Here was a King who was open and honest about his contempt for opposition to his government. In fact, after burning the scroll, he sent his son and some other men to arrest Baruch and Jeremiah. Fortunately, God had hidden them, and they were spared. In those days opposition was often met with imprisonment and death.

Barack Obama Reads LincolnBarack is busy reading about Abraham Lincoln and Franklin D Roosevelt. Would that he had the courage to seek wisdom from God’s Word.Bible - Word of God

Judah was facing economic and political hardships that eventually resulted in the toppling of the government and their captivity by a foreign nation. Times of prosperity had suddenly (over a process of forty years) turned into military defeats and isolationism. All the while they continued to fast, worship and seek after Jehovah God. Yet all the while they practiced greed and honored other gods, especially the god ‘BAAL’. They would worship in the Temple on the Sabbath and through the week offer sacrifices to Baal and other gods. They wanted to cover all the spiritual bases. They were tolerant of all the religions. They were tolerant of people’s rights to worship whom they please in a manner they please. Child SacrificeThat tolerance led to the horrible practice of child sacrifice to Baal.

“They have built pagan shrines at Topheth, the garbage dump in the valley of Ben-Hinnom, and there they burn their sons and daughters in the fire. I have never commanded such a horrible deed; it never even crossed my mind to command such a thing!” Jeremiah 7:31 (NLT)

Americans do not see abortion as child sacrifice, but I can’t help but think that God does.

aborted-baby

I can just see God saying “You allow your sons and daughters to be aborted in the womb, a practice that never even crossed my mind to command such a thing” Ibelieve we sacrifice them to the god of self-indulgence, and to the god of convenience.

I’m wondering if Barack Obama will be a President who will cut out of the Bible the portions of Scripture that he disagrees with. Indeed, I’m wondering if he will believe in the Bible as the Word of God at all. True belief requires OBEDIENCE. As he considers the wisdom of Lincoln and the actions of Roosevelt, I pray he will consider the warnings of God’s Word, especially the warnings of Jeremiah.partialbirthabortion

Barack has claimed that his name has its root in the Arabic and Semitic word for “blessing”. He said it is similar to the Hebrew word “ ‏בָּרַךְ (bārak) <Strong’s: 1288> to kneel, bless, praise, salute”. Other linguists have said it is more akin to the Hebrew word “‏בָּרַק (baraq) <Strong’s: 1299> cast forth (lightning)”. The Theological Workbook of the Old Testament has this to say in reference to the meaning of ‘baraq’ (lightning):

“The association of lightning with the Lord also serves as a polemic against Baal, the principal Canaanite nature deity. The Ugaritic texts and artifacts portray Baal as the god of lightning, fire and rain. Thus one text reads: “Baal flashed his thunderbolts” (ʿnt, IV, 70), and another says: “He flashed lightning to the earth” (Text 51, V, 71). In a stele he is pictured as brandishing a club in one hand, and holding a stylized thunderbolt ending in a spearhead in the other (C. F. A. Schaeffer, The Cuneiform Texts of Ras Shamra-Ugarit (1936), plate XXXII, fig. 2). The stele indicates that Baal had power over fire and lightning. It is against this background that one must read Jeremiah’s warning: “Do not learn the ways of the nations, and do not be dismayed at the signs in the heavens…. But the Lord is the true God; he is the living God, an everlasting King; at his wrath the earth trembles…. The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, these shall perish from the earth, and from under the heavens…. When the Lord utters his voice there is a tumult of waters in the heavens . . . ; he makes lightning’s for the rain, and bringeth forth the wind out of his treasuries” (Jeremiah 10:2-13; cf. Jeremiah 51:16).

blessing or curseI don’t know the true meaning of Barack Obama’s name. I do know that God said in His Word (Deuteronomy 28) that we can either have blessing or cursing and that choice is made by heeding and following the Word of God. In fact, God says in Deuteronomy 30:19 (NLT): “Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!”

Followers of Christ must pray for Barack Obama. We must pray that he will be a “Blessed” leader, because he has decided to obey God’s Word.  We must pray that he does not follow the example of Jehoiakim, and burn the Word of God that he disagrees with. If that happens, his name will indeed be “Lightning”, for he will be following the ‘god of lightning-Baal’. And God says that the gods of this world will perish from the earth, along with all those who follow them.

Barack, I hope you include the writings of Jeremiah in your readings. Barack, you need to meet Baruch, and follow the Word of God. Then and only then will your name mean “Blessed of God”. If there is any hope for America, if there is any hope for the Blessing of God on our country, it will be because our leaders humble themselves before Almighty God and agree to follow Him! Our God still Reigns!