Angels Rejoice? Not What Word Says

It is (too) often said that the angels in heaven rejoice when a sinner is converted.

Maybe they do…though it is hard for me to think so since the Word says they don’t/can’t understand the gospel fully.

What Luke records is this:

Lu 15.7 “I tell you, in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who don’t need repentance.”

Luke 15.10 “I tell you, in the same way, there is joy in the presence of God’s angels over one sinner who repents.”

And in the following verses the dad of the prodigal runs to meet him (because he was watching for him) and initiates the party that follows.

Look again at 15.10 – “…there is joy in the presence of God’s angels…

It is GOD who rejoices!

Zeph 3.17 “The LORD your God is among you, a warrior who saves. He will rejoice over you with gladness. He will be quiet in his love. He will delight in you with singing.”

Yeah, maybe the angels join in; but it is our heavenly Father who rejoices. (I’ll let die hard calvinists and armenians debate about why would He rejoice over something He causes and knows will happen 🙂

context Context CONTEXT

“But seek his kingdom, and these things will be provided for you.” Luke 12.31

“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.” Matthew 6.33

I’ve heard people of all ages “claim” these verses (especially 6.33) pertaining to health, boyfriends, job, car, etc etc etc.

Of course God can (and often does) provide each of those things and so much more.

But to “claim” them in view of these two passages is snipping the verse out of its context, and therefore stripping the verse of any true meaning.

Here’s the context of the Luke verse: “29 Don’t strive for what you should eat and what you should drink, and don’t be anxious. 30 For the Gentile world eagerly seeks all these things, and your Father knows that you need them.”

And now the context of the Matthew verse: “31 So don’t worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.”

Luke says “these things” while Matthew said “all these things.”

And what are “these things”?

Food…water…clothing.

Every good gift comes from God. You may ask God/beg God for anything.

But don’t use these two verses to “claim” anything but food, water, and clothing.

And even then recognize that this is a principle; there are exceptions as history shows. Christians suffer from (genuine) hunger, lack of water, and can be clothesless.

Oh…and…by the way…and I’d love to have you comment your answer, what does it mean to “seek first the kingdom of God.”?

Because that is the condition that evolves into the promise.

I Sin Because I Want To – So Do You

“How dare you say that, Jack!”

I dare say it because that is what the Word of God declares.

We are all tempted. Not the same way, but we all battle temptation.

“Well, I don’t, Jack.” Cool. That means you are (1) dead; or (2) not a genuine Christ-follower.

But for those who follow Christ, we don’t sin because of weakness, or because we ‘run with the wrong crowd,’ or any other excuse.

We sin because we don’t RUN!

 “No temptation has come upon you except what is common to humanity. But God is faithful; he will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to bear it.” 1 Corin 10.13

“No temptation” probably means “no temptation.”

My struggle, your struggle, is not unique. It is “common to humanity.”

Regardless of our faithfulness, “God is faithful.”

And He will…always…”provide the way out” or, as another translation puts it, “provide an avenue of escape.”

Let the Word say what it says.

When tempted, don’t whine; look for the “way out” and take it.

Flee! Don’t try to duke it out.

Run! Don’t try to figure out how close you can get without falling.

And when you do sin, run to First John One Nine and agree with God that you have sinned. (that’s what ‘confess’ means). No excuses. No “but everybody does it.” No ‘justification.’ Own it, confess it, repent of it, and move on.

When Is A Baby Not A Baby?

Here is a quote from the Associated Press today:

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) — A Springfield man who killed his pregnant girlfriend and her unborn child has been sentenced to life in prison. Derik Osborn was sentenced Friday in the March 2017 deaths of Valerie Williams and the unborn child. (emphasis added)

862,000…862,000 unborn children were legally aborted in 2017.

Eight hundred sixty two thousand.

Our laws decree that the only thing that makes murder legal is how it is conducted.

And we dare sing or pray, “God bless America”?

Who Cares Who “Wins”?

My oldest son and I are going to the Kansas City/Buffalo football game this Sunday evening.

The Chiefs are slightly favored to win. But the Chiefs defense has been weak.

It should be a great game. Maybe even a “classic.”

And, yeah, since I live here I’d like the Chiefs to win in a close one.

But if the Bills win, I’ll also be happy.

We lived a couple hours south of Buffalo for 21 years; to include the four consecutive years the Bills went to (and lost in) the Super Bowl.

So I’m kinda a Bills fan also. I was contemplating wearing my vintage Bills jacket with a Chiefs cap, but I decided against that.

So I’m hoping for a good game, regardless of what team wins.

The Body of Christ sort of has teams also:

Baptists (in 3,242 varieties, or so it seems); Nazarenes; Assembly of God; Bible Believing Methodists; charismatics (and, alas, charismaniacs); Presbyterians and so many more.

In these increasingly difficult days; we Christians need to stand and work together, regardless of differences on secondary issues. (like tongues, security of believer, eschatology, mode of baptism, etc.etc.etc.)

We are brothers and sisters in Christ; but not identical twins.

And we need to march and work hand-in-hand, even if we don’t see eye-to-eye on secondary issues.

To clarify…I’m not talking “why can’t we all be friends” ecumenacalism.

There are professing “Christians” who I wouldn’t call on for silent prayer.

Those who deny the exclusivity of the gospel; those who deny the virgin birth; those who deny the resurrection; those who deny repentance/faith; etc etc etc are excluded.

But of those who agree on the essentials – who cares who “wins”?

Who cares who has the largest in number denomination?

Who cares who has the coolest music?

Who cares who baptizes another way than “we” do?

Who cares whether someone is pre-trib; post-trib; mid-trib; or don’t-give-a-trib?

We really do, we really do, we really do, need each other.

And the Victor is not us.

Dazzling Denzel

He is my favorite actor.

I have heard segments of his speeches in which he refers to faith.

I anticipate meeting him one glad morning…

I just discovered this half-hour interview.

The first several minutes deal with race, past, and current affairs.

Then it segues into Denzel’s faith journey.

You may not every “t” and dot every “i” theologically.

But whether you like him as an actor of not, I urge you to give this a watch and listen.

Wanted: Spiritual Mothers

Good stuff here:

Great and Noble Tasks

Whose voice do you hear when a much older Christian woman speaks into your life?

When I was eight years old, I became a grown-up. Changing life circumstances and a mom who needed my help in many areas of her life caused me to say good-bye to most of the rest of my childhood and learn how to be an adult quickly.

One recent Sunday, almost 50 years later, I sat in church and listened to a prayer written and spoken by a woman a little older than my mother would have been if she were still alive. Her prayer was just a minute or two long, and by the end of it I was in tears. Now, I cry easily for many reasons, so the tears themselves didn’t surprise me. The surprise was that I was crying for something I longed for without knowing, like a memory that had…

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You WILL Be Found

A couple days ago I wrote a passionate (I hope) recommendation to see “Dear Evan Hansen” https://youknowjack.blog/2021/10/03/dont-miss-dear-evan-hansen/

“You Will Be Found” is my favorite song in my new favorite movie.

The writers, according to my research, are a married, church-going father, and a single, gay Jew.

They wrote the score for “The Greatest Showman,” “La La Land,” and other flicks.

Without changing a word, this song has a Christian tilt to it.

Oh, and by the way, you will be found one day…either at the Great White Throne of Revelation 20; or the Judgement Seat of Christ. The issue of the former is sin; the issue of the latter is rewards.

And…if you are a Christian…you have been found.

“I found Jesus when I was 26.” Wrong. The Lord wasn’t lost. You were. He found you, and the Father drew you to the Son.

Quit preaching, Jack.

Okay.

I love the song. The opening line is the story not just for many, many teens; but for many, many (most?) adults. For whatever reason, this recording does not include the words.

Here they are: “Have you ever felt like nobody was there? Have you ever felt forgotten in the middle of nowhere? Have you ever felt like you could disappear? Like you could fall and no one would hear?”

Then we segue into hope: “Well, let that lonely feeling wash away…maybe there’s a reason to believe you’ll be okay…’cause when you don’t feel strong enough to stand; you can reach, reach out your hand And oh, oh Someone will come running, and I know they’ll take you home.”

It continues broadcasting hope, “Even when the dark comes crashing through, when you need a Friend to carry you; when you’re broken on the ground, you will be found.”

Then, unintentionally or not, comes one word that, spelled just a tad different, brings a mist to my eyes, “So let the Sun come streaming in; cause you’ll reach up and you’ll rise again. If you only look around, you will be found…”

And I’ve hopped around you tube looking and listening to various renditions. Many are very, very good.

But this is my favorite.

Their faces, their smiles, their enthusiasm!

Sure, I know some or most of them spend a lot of their time working as baristas or waitstaff as they, well, wait for gigs. I know some of them live in crowded apartments because they can’t afford to live separately.

But methinks they have passion for their craft. I think when they “work” they are ecstatically happy, and understand what Indira Ghandi wrote, “The secret of life is to find a job that they pay you to do, that you would pay to do.”

Crank your speakers. Watch and enjoy this.

And, if I may, ask yourself what I ask – how come I/we don’t look like them when we’re singing praise/worship music?

Deadly Delay

There is nothing as fleeting as the moment of conviction.

“No one comes to the Son except the Father draws him”

“Today is the day of salvation”

The devil and his legions care not if a lost person thinks “Someday I’ll come to salvation; someday I’ll repent; someday I’ll investigate the claims of the gospel”

Too many are like Felix in Acts 24:

22 Since Felix was well informed about the Way, he adjourned the hearing, saying, “When Lysias the commander comes down, I will decide your case.” 23 He ordered that the centurion keep Paul under guard, though he could have some freedom, and that he should not prevent any of his friends from meeting his needs.

24 Several days later, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish, he sent for Paul and listened to him on the subject of faith in Christ Jesus. 25 Now as he spoke about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come, Felix became afraid and replied, “Leave for now, but when I have an opportunity I’ll call for you.” 26 At the same time he was also hoping that Paul would offer him money.[d] So he sent for him quite often and conversed with him.

27 After two years had passed, Porcius Festus succeeded Felix, and because Felix wanted to do the Jews a favor, he left Paul in prison.”

Don’t Miss “Dear Evan Hansen”

My bride and I went to the movies last night to see “Dear Evan Hansen.”

The advertisements intrigued me. I did some research…most critics hated it; most fans loved it.

Color me the latter.

Unique. Intriguing. Surprising.

Phenomenally acted; especially by the lead actor (portraying Evan…he also starred in the Broadway musical).

It tackles mental illness.

If you, as a Christian, think (using the term loosely) depression, anxiety etc are always evidences of demonic activity; or if you feel medication is unnecessary for such issues; don’t bother reading (and don’t bother “correcting” me).

It is, I guess, officially a musical. (but, then, so also was one of my favorites – “The Greatest Showman”)

I don’t want to put out any spoilers…

I simply urge you to see it.

I very, very rarely watch a movie twice…

But this one I will…

And if the Broadway show travels to the midwest…I’ll try to see it.

Here’s my favorite song from the movie…yeah, it doesn’t take much to make it work as a “Christian” song: