Who is JESUS, Really?

00022902_hHebrews 1:1-3 (Amplified Bible):

IN MANY separate revelations [each of which set forth a portion of the Truth] and in different ways God spoke of old to [our] forefathers in and by the prophets.

[But] in the last of these days He has spoken to us in [the person of a ] Son, Whom He appointed Heir and lawful Owner of all things, also by and through Whom He created the worlds and the reaches of space and the ages of time [He made, produced, built, operated, and arranged them in order].

He is the sole expression of the glory of God [the Light-being, the out-raying or radiance of the divine], and He is the perfect imprint and very image of [God’s] nature, upholding and maintaining and guiding and propelling the universe by His mighty word of power. When He had by offering Himself accomplished our cleansing of sins and riddance of guilt, He sat down at the right hand of the divine Majesty on high.


Jesus is BETTER, is mentioned thirteen times alone in the The Letter to the Hebrews— to show the superiority of JESUS to other religious systems.

  • Christ is “superior” than the angels (1:4).
  • Jesus brought a “better” hope (7:19), because He is the MEDIATOR of a “better” covenant…
  • Which was established upon “better” promises (8:6).

[Warren Wiersbe: “Be Confident” (Wheaton, Ill; Victor Books, 1982) p. 8]

THIS LETTER in Hebrews, is written to a group of people who are about ready to give up on their faith–

This group of Jewish Christians, who more than likely met together regularly, seemed to be at a standstill spiritually and in danger of going backwards (Hebrews 5:12).

They are urged strongly by the writer of the LETTER–take stock of what JESUS has to offer and not give into FEAR or DOUBT and stay the course:

“God spoke of old to [our] forefathers in and by the prophets, in the last of these days He has spoken to us in [the person of a ] Son…”  (verses 1 b. & 2 a.).

Ever since the world began, God has been speaking to His creation at different times and different ways; sometimes by direct communication, and sometimes through DREAMS & VISIONS.

But most of all, through His prophets.

IN BIBLICAL TIMES when a prophet of God spoke…His people listened.  The reason was simple:  When a prophet spoke, the people knew they were hearing from God.

The Apostle Peter says,

“For no prophecy ever originated because some man willed it [to do so–it never came by human impulse], but men spoke from God who were borne along (moved and impelled) by the Holy Spirit”  (2 Peter 1:21).

During the Old Testament Period…

GOD SPOKE to His people through the prophets.  This self-disclosure was timely and partial in nature and was spread over a period of at least 10 centuries and…it was given in a variety of means.

Today, GOD’S MESSAGE is no longer spoken through the prophets but is spoken through God’s very own Son, JESUS.

The prophets of old were merely instruments in the hand of God BUT…

He was the VISIBLE presence of the INVISIBLE God–

Formally, the REVELATION OF GOD was fragmentary but now it is COMPLETE!

Formally, it was PARTIAL, and now it is PERFECT!

Formally, it was PREPARATORY, but now it is FULFILLED!

God did not entrust His FULL REVELATION to be given by man…

God took the initiative to DECLARE it Himself through His Son.

As John MacArthur states in his commentary, “Every religion is but man’s attempt to discover God.  Christianity is God bursting into man’s world and showing and telling man what He is like.”  [John MacArthur: MacArthur’s New Testament Commentary – Hebrews (Chicago Moody Press 1983) p. 3 ]


While reading the three verses in Hebrews in study, I wrote down the reasons I found in my study notebook.

VERSE 2 –  “Who He appointed Heir and lawful Owner of ALL THINGS, also by and through Whom He created the world…”

VERSE 3 –  “the sole expression of the glory of God…upholding and maintaining and guiding and propelling the universe by His word of power…”

FIRST, He is Heir of All Things! (verse 2)

Since Jesus Christ is the Son and particularly the ONLY Son of God, He is also the HEIR, the sole HEIR of ALL THINGS.

 He is the HEIR because and He is…

SECOND, He is the CREATOR of All Things!  (verse 2)

Colossians 1:16-17:

[16] For it was in Him that all things were created, in heaven and on earth, things seen and things unseen, whether thrones, dominions, rulers, or authorities; all things were created and exist through Him [by His service, intervention] and in and for Him. 

[17] And He Himself existed before all things, and in Him all things consist (cohere, are held together).

The Apostle Paul explains that ALL THINGS were created by Him and for Him.

John says, in the Gospel of John, that “All things were made and came into existence through Him; and without Him was not even one thing made that has come into being” (1:3).

Interestingly, it says in HEBREWS, “He created the worlds”.

The word translated “world” here is not the normal Greek word (kosmos), but rather (aionos), which means “the ages”.

JESUS not only made the universe but He brought SPACE, TIME AND MATTER into existence.

JESUS is He, Who was before history, at the beginning of history and will be at the end of history.

He is not only the OPERATOR of the Universe, but…

THIRD, He is the SUSTAINER of the Universe!  (verse 2)

Not only did JESUS “CREATE” ALL THINGS by His Word (John 1:1-5), but He also “UPHOLDS” ALL THINGS by the same powerful WORD.

“Consider…what instant destruction would happen if the earth’s rotation slowed down just a little.  The sun has a surface temperature of 12,000 degrees F.  If it were any closer to us we would burn up, it were any further away we would freeze.  Our globe is tilted on an exact angle of 23 degree, providing us with four seasons.  If it were not tilted, vapors from the oceans would move north and south and develop into monstrous continents of ice.  If the moon did not retain its exact distance from the earth, tides would flood the land completely, twice a day…If the atmosphere did not remain at its present density, but thinned out even a little, many of the meteors which now harmlessly burn up when they hit the atmosphere would constantly bombard us…How does the universe stay in this kind of fantastically delicate balance?  [MacArthur p. 17]

Photo by Chad Blotner @ Bass Pro Shop

Photo by Chad Blotner @ Bass Pro Shop

You can choose to “BELIEVE IT OR NOT”…But the evidence is laid out plainly in the Bible and that’s what I believe when the Word says, “Jesus maintains and sustains the balance of the universe.”

He is not only the SUSTAINER of the Universe, but…

FOURTH, He is the RADIANCE of God’s Glory!  (verse 3)

“He is the sole expression of the glory of God”

No mere prophet could ever make the claim.


“He is the PERFECT imprint and very IMAGE of [God’s] nature”

The word translated “IMAGE” (character) carries the idea that JESUS is the EXACTNESS of the very substance of God.  What we know of the CHARACTER OF GOD, we know through Christ Jesus!

At the beginning of the Gospel of John, an explanation is given to us clearly:

No man has ever seen God at anytime; the only unique Son, or the only begotten God,  Who is in the bosom [in the intimate presence] of the Father, He has DECLARED Him…  (John 1:18).

The word translated “declared” is literally (exegeomai – Greek), meaning He “exegeted”, or “explained” (New American Standard bible – NAS) Him.

The goal should be for every Bible Teacher, myself included, is to “exegete” or explain the Scripture,  JESUS exegeted or explained God.

Later in the Gospel, when the disciple Philip asked Jesus to show him the Father, He replied, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father…”  (John 14:9).

There is not one feature of God’s character that JESUS doesn’t reveal.

He not only is the EXACT REPRESENTATION of God the Father, BUT…

SIXTH, He is the REDEEMER of All Men!

“Offering Himself…cleansing us from our sins…”

When JESUS went to the CROSS, He solved the problem of SIN…Forever, Once for all time!

The apostle Peter puts it this way in 1 Peter 1:18-19:

[18] “You must know (recognize) that you were redeemed (ransomed) from the useless (fruitless) way of living inherited by tradition from [your] forefathers, not with corruptible things [such as] silver and gold.

[19] But [you were purchased] with the precious blood of Christ (the Messiah), like that of a [sacrificial] lamb without blemish or spot.”

JESUS is not only the REDEEMER OF MANKIND, but…

SEVENTH, He is RULER of the Universe!

“when He sat down at the right hand of the divine Majesty on high”

That phrase is ‘mind-blowing’ to me as I began to think and meditate deeply of its implications to all of mankind.

“He sat down.” 

Few other statements in the Bible are filled with such great importance.  In my research, I came upon the following noteworthy commentary by Marv Rosenthal:

“We know a great deal about the temple (in Jerusalem) and its furnishings, but fascinately, there were no chairs in this billion dollar building that took 48 years to complete.  There were no chairs because the priests of Israel never sat down.  They never sat down because their work was never done.  Their work was never done because the blood of bulls and goats could never take away sin.  It was a stop-gap, it was temporary, it was incomplete.  And so, priest after priest, course after course, year after yer, century after century, with monotonous repetition, would come to the Temple and they would function, but they would never sit down.  They could never rest for their work was never done, the task was never complete”  [See Footnote [i]].

BUT JESUS once for all time paid the PENALTY FOR SIN!

And so Jesus offered Himself as the “once for all time” SACRIFICE for sin.

The work was  now completed and never gain to be repeated.  

“He sat down”–that the significance of Christ’s Words from the Cross when He shouted (telestai)

“It is finished” (John 19:30).

And then “He sat down”–His work is finished.  

“He sat down”–His position is fixed.

None of the angels held such a position of honor in heaven.

Seated in Honor JESUS remains SUPERIOR!




Footnote [i] :  Israel My Glory: “He Sat Down” (April/May 1987) p. 4

Photo Credits:  Google Image, except where noted below photo.

Bible Translation Used:  Amplified Bible.

Commentaries used as note in the text.


Finding Answers to the 4 “W’s” of WORSHIP and More!



I love stories that can bring out an emphasis in a bible study, and this blog is no exception:

A little boy asked his mother if she could remember the highest number she ever counted to.  The mother didn’t know so she asked him about his highest number.  Without hesitation, “5,372”.  The mother was puzzled and ask him why he stopped at that particular one.  The boy responded, “Well…church was over.”

The Aspects of Worshipping:

The idea of our WORSHIP being boring, to me, is an OXYMORON, or self-contradicting phrase.

The word itself comes from “oxus”, meaning sharp–and “moros” which means dull or stupidity.  [See Footnote [i].]

Some examples of my favorite OXYMORONS would be:

  • Jumbo shrimp.
  • Freezer burn.
  • White chocolate.
  • Plastic silverware.
  • Sanitary landfill.
  • Airline food.

Another self-contradicting phrase is BORING WORSHIP.

I found some interesting surveys in my research this past week, saying when people are asked why they don’t attend church, they often replied church is too boring.

While I recognize that sometimes a church service can seem dull, especially to a non-Christian attendee, my suggestion to all is, TRUE WORSHIP is anything but boring.

The Essence of True Worship –

The very essence of what WORSHIP is, doesn’t allow us to be bored.

When we come before the Majestic God of the Universe, who has created everything and done amazing things in our lives everyday, how can we not break out in adoration?

Most importantly, WORSHIP must lead us to a response.  If we don’t respond, when we don’t rejoice and the reverence of who we are worshipping, we risk becoming hardened before Him.


I love reading in the Psalms, and because of my long musical background in singing, one Psalm in particular stands out to me presenting the basic criteria of TRUE WORSHIPPING.


[1] O SING unto the LORD a NEW SONG; sing unto the LORD, all the earth.

[2] Sing unto the LORD, bless His name, show forth His salvation from day to day.

[3] Declare His glory among the heathen [“the nations” – NIV bible], His wonders among all people.

[4] For the LORD is great, and greatly to be praised; He is to be feared above all gods.  [See Rev. 14:7; Deut. 6:5]

[5] For all the gods of the nations are idols; but the LORD made the heavens.

[6] Honour and majesty are before Him; strength and beauty are in His sanctuary.

[7] Give unto the LORD, O ye kindreds of the people, give unto the LORD glory and strength.

[8] Give unto the LORD the glory due unto His name; bring an offering, and come into His courts.

[9] O worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness; fear before Him, all the earth.

[10] Say among the heathen that the LORD reigneth; the world also shall be established that it shall not be moved; He shall judge the people righteously.

[11] Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof.

[12] Let the field be joyful, and all that is therein; then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice.

[13] Before the LORD; for He cometh, for He cometh to judge the earth; He shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with His truth.

A Song of Worship –

PSALM 96 is based upon David’s anthem of ADORATION as found in 1 Chronicles 16; when the Ark of the Covenant is brought to its resting place.

If you take the time to compare the TWO SONGS, you’ll find as I did, there are a lot of repeated phrases.

The Call to SING SONGS and Break Out Into PRAISE (verses 1-3):

The verses can be read here in context of Christ’s Second Coming and glorious reign.

We SING not just because of the past and the present but because we know what is coming in the future.

When singing in choirs years ago, I always loved the words to the Praise Song, “Coming Again!”;  

Coming Again,  Coming Again!  Maybe morning, Maybe noon, Maybe evening and Maybe soon…”

It always made me reflect on the exactness of the lyrics’ motivation to praise–Jesus is coming again!

FIRST OF THE 4 W’s:  What is Worship?

TO WORSHIP means to “fall on your face or bow down,” and is found more than 170 times in the Bible.

All who are true worshippers, must WORSHIP God in “spirit and truth” (John 4:23-24).

That is, TRUE WORSHIP must take place on the inside–the HEART & SPIRIT of the worshipper.  WORSHIP pleasing to God must be with sincere feelings and transparent to His “Worth-ship.”  

We then are to recognize our place before God Almighty and acknowledge His worthiness…His “worth-ship” before us.

So, how should we WORSHIP?

  • With MUSIC  (Verse 1).
  • With PROCLAMATION  (Verse 2); The MESSAGE Bible says, “to shout the news of victory”.
  • By GIVING GOD THE GLORY   (Verse 8).
  • By LIVING HOLY LIVES  (Verse 9).
  • And, by WITNESSING FOR HIM  (Verse 10).

THE SECOND OF THE 4 W’s:  The “Why’s” of WORSHIP:

  • BECAUSE God SAVED US  (Verse 2)
  • BECAUSE of His POWER  (Verse 5)
  • BECAUSE God is RIGHTEOUS and TRUE and He is coming to JUDGE.

THE THIRD OF THE 4 W’s:  The “Where’s” of WORSHIP:

  • We are to WORSHIP the LORD among the nations  (Verse 3)
  • We are to WORSHIP in His Sanctuary  (Verse 6)
  • We are to WORSHIP in His courts  (Verse 8)

THE FOURTH OF THE W’s:  The “When’s” of WORSHIP:

VERSE 2 calls us to SING & PROCLAIM (“shout out”) His SALVATION…”day after day.”

So there you have it, FOUR ANSWERS to some common questions that will arise in conversation about WORSHIP.

BUT, there’s more to understand.


#1. EXALT His Name –

Looking closely at Verses 1-2 above, we are called to SING to the LORD three different times.

When something is repeated in triplicate in Scripture, it is done to get our attention.  Much like “Holy, Holy, Holy” in Isaiah 6:3.

Why Singing & Shouting?

Singing to the Holy Trinity started way back at creation in Job 38:7, where we read

“When the morning stars SANG together and all the sons of God SHOUTED for joy”

There has been singing & shouting from the beginning of time with more singing at the end of the age in Revelation 15:3–The Song of the Lamb:

“And they SANG the song of Moses the servant of God and the SONG OF THE LAMB, saying,  Mighty and marvelous are Your works, O Lord God the Omnipotent! Righteous (just) and true are Your ways, O Sovereign of the ages (King of the nations)!  [Amplified Bible]

In the meantime, we are CALLED to SING to the Lord as we wait for JESUS’ return.


I also noticed in my investigation, the importance of singing a “NEW SONG” to the Lord.

The word “NEW” can mean something that is brand new and also can mean, “delighted, precious and exquisite.”

When something is NEW, it is fresh.  If all we sing is “Kumbaya” type songs every time we’re in church, then the chances are good, we’re not growing and experiencing fresh insights from the LORD.  Remember, it is NOT our WORSHIP, it is HIS!

New Hymns and New Praise Songs Are ESSENTIAL to WORSHIP –

Nobody I think, enjoys singing the harmonies of the old hymns of the past, more than I. However, NEW SONGS are essential to meet the ever-varying manifestations of God’s character.

In the last part of Psalm 96:1. “all the earth”, we are to break out into song, EXALTING–lifting Him up–for who He is and what He has done.

The Call to Worship…

The call to worship to SING, was not limited to Israel but was intended for all the earth.

The Book of Revelation gives us further insight in Rev. 15:4:

“All the nations shall come and pay homage and adoration to You”

#2. Extend His Kingdom.

Take a close look at verses 2 & 3:

“…show forth His SALVATION from day to day.  Declare His glory among the nations”

Declaring His Glory

Declaring His Glory

We are told HOW to EXTEND His Kingdom and WHERE to PROCLAIM (“Declare”) His SALVATION.  The words in the two verses also tell us how often to do it–“day after day.” And, we’re told WHERE to do it…”among the nations.”


We are given specific instruction during worship, to SHARE the message and our mandate is, to take it to ALL the people (Acts 1:8).

The only MESSAGE we have today is JESUS SAVES!!!

#3. EXPRESS His Greatness.

As we EXALT His name and look for ways to EXTEND HIS KINGDOM, we will be drawn into the THIRD ESSENTIAL of WORSHIP (verses 4-9).

King Over ALL the Nations…He is most WORTHY of PRAISE!

I can’t help but notice how much we praise people.  Even at our worship services; the recognition of our local sports teams in wearing articles of clothing celebrating current and former athletes.

But it isn’t just athletes, is it? We avidly support recording artists, politicians, and yes, even Megachurch leaders.  We love to applaud the attributes of others.

And yet, this Psalm brings us back to what’s most important: Only God Himself is GREAT and most WORTHY of our PRAISE.

He is FEARED above everyone and everything else.

VERSE 5 tells us that.

He has no rivals because He is the Creator.  And as such, we should WORSHIP Him with all that we have.


Personified as if they were attendants surrounding the throne –

“Honor and majesty are before Him; strength and beauty are in His sanctuary”

A year before I was married, a friend and I, took a trip to Mexico.  We saw the beautiful beaches of Acapulco, the rose gardens in Guadalajara.  But for the real history of the country, we found east of Mexico City. at Teotihuacan (“teh-oh-tee-wa-KHAN”), the place where the AZTECS said the gods were born.

Many IDOLS that had been preserved were gruesome and ugly to look upon.


NOT SO with the One Who causes things to exist and where there was nothing before.

Our GOD is not gruesome, but instead, He is BEAUTIFUL, arrayed in SPLENDOR, clothed with MAJESTY and armed with POWER AND GLORY that is brighter than the sun.


THREE TIMES in a row, the Psalmist challenges us to “ascribe,” or give, to the LORD what is due His name.

Recognizing His GREATNESS, His MAJESTY, and STRENGTH First…We then will want to Honor Him.

I found it interesting that even though “the nations” are found earlier in the psalm, here we are called to WORSHIP the Lord, as the “FAMILIES” of the nations; singled out to give (“ascribe”) GLORY AND STRENGTH to the Lord.

God has ordained the family unit to a special and unique creation of His and as parents today, we must do all we can to make sure our families are honoring God.

The last part of VERSE 8 gives us a practical way to do that.  When this PSALM was written, the people would take their OFFERINGS to the Temple.  The King James Version refers to “thank offerings,” or those things that people would give out of gratitude to the Lord for all that He has done.

I was amazed when I looked up the word “ascribe” (to give) in my Concordance Dictionary, finding it listed 689 times!

At least THREE WAYS we can bring and give an offering to the LORD:

  • A Living Sacrifice (Romans 12:1-2).
  • A Sacrifice of Praise (Hebrews 13:15).
  • A Financial Sacrifice (Malachi 3).

Remember, a SACRIFICE isn’t a SACRIFICE unless it costs you something!

Expect His Coming!

While we EXALT His name, we should be looking forward for the ways to EXTEND HIS KINGDOM.

This then motivates us to express HIS GREATNESS.

One last ESSENTIAL to ponder I found in verses 10-13.

The Reign of the Lord and His Coming Judgment…

In VERSE 10, the word “JUDGE” carries the idea that God sovereignly RULES over the nations and will judge everyone with fairness and equity.

In VERSES 11-12, we see that the whole creation, when reflecting on GOD’S RULE, breaks out into JOYFUL PRAISE:

The HEAVENS WILL REJOICE…the EARTH will be glad, the SEA will resound, the FIELDS: the corn and soybeans–will REJOICE, and ALL THE TREES of the forest will SING FOR JOY!


Because, The King Is Coming!

In the meantime, we are called to WAIT & WORSHIP.

We are also told to “GO TELL OTHERS,” about the GOSPEL MESSAGE, before it is too late– JUDE 14-15:

“Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men:  See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of His holy ones to judge everyone, and to convict all the ungodly of the ungodly acts they have done in the ungodly way, and of all the harsh words ungodly sinners have spoken against Him”  (New International Version).


Here it is:  A BORED BELIEVER.

If you truly understand what being a BELIEVER, AN OVERCOMER is all about, it is impossible to be “bored.”

If we are EXALTING, EXTENDING, EXPRESSING, and EXPECTING, we’ll be fired up and experience the JOY of what it means to partner with God in His kingdom work here on earth.

So, let’s stop singing the ‘same old song,’ and let’s start singing A NEW SONG OF REJOICING!




Commentaries:   Treasury of David – Psalm 96 by Charles Spurgeon; “Why We Sing,” A Sermon on Psalm 96, Sign in the Window; Psalm 96 – Daily Devotional.

Photo Credits:    Google Images; Wikipedia photo of Aztec carvings.

Bible Translations Used:  King James Version, New International Version, Amplified Bible.

Footnote [i] – Dictionary.com -Word; Origin C17: view New Latin from Greek.


Everything In Life Has Terms Attached to it

STUDY IN AMOS 4:11-13 –




It seems like everything I do these days has some type of TERMS I have to agree to.  I just opened today’s mail and with no surprise, plenty of JUNK MAIL.

Somebody will send a credit card application and all over the front page, in big 2-inch letters–tells me about all the money they’re going to give me.

But then at the bottom or on the back, it gives the TERMS & CONDITIONS.  Of course, you have to have a magnifying glass to read the print.  The only reason they put the terms therein the first place is because the LAWYERS make them.  That said, they still try to hide them as best as they can.

Whether you’re buying anything, getting a job, or entering a contract–TERMS have to be agreed to.

Did you know that God has “terms” as well?

Except, God isn’t a lawyer–He sets His terms up front.

The problem comes in when we try to meet God on our own TERMS instead of on His.

That’s what ISRAEL did in our study in AMOS.  God’s chosen people wanted a RELATIONSHIP with God, but wanted it on their TERMS.

God speaks through AMOS and reviews His case against ISRAEL.

AMOS reviews the ways ISRAEL tried to meet God on their own TERMS, in spite of His continual persuasion.

Even though times have changed, human nature hasn’t and neither has God’s CHARACTER.

There are still TWO WAYS to prepare to meet God–

Either try to do it on our terms or His.  We’ll meet Him either way.  Either we’ll meet Him in JUDGMENT or in ETERNAL RELATIONSHIP.


ISRAEL tried to meet God on their terms because they BEHAVED on their own terms.

AMOS 4:1:

“HEAR THIS word, you cows of Bashan who are in the mountain of Samaria, who oppress the poor, who crush the needy, who say to their husbands,  Bring and let us drink!”

GOD’S description called them “COWS”, not “BULLS.”

BASHAN is a hilly area overlooking Samaria and was known for its cattle.  If McDonald’s had been around back then, they would have marketed “Bashan burgers” and not “Black Angus.”

BASHAN COWS were well fed, spoiled and fat!



In the original Hebrew language, the feminine structure of the verse makes it clear, God is talking about the WOMEN OF ISRAEL.

Throughout history, in every society, WOMEN are the main stabilizing forces.  The decline of any society can be seen in the way the women act.

WOMEN are typically more stable, more moral, more obedient to laws, more kind and merciful to the poor and needy.

That was what was happening in ISRAEL.  The women had turned away from their values; they had usurped their roles in the home by now demanding to be waited on.


The words in AMOS 4, are not just a JUDGMENT on the women.  It’s a JUDGMENT on Israel as a whole because women acting that way is an EFFECT– it’s not a CAUSE.

The cause is from men and society as a whole, turning away from God.

The Genie Is Out of The Bottle…

RADICAL FEMINISM will not go away until Christ returns, ushering in proper balance between men and women.

When JESUS sets up His government–“until the times of restoration of all things” will begin (Acts 3:21), then He will declare the eternal end to the “battle of the sexes.”  Then it will not be a woman’s world–but a God’s world!

Look what’s happening in my country…

AMERICA began to turn away from God in the mid 1800s.  The educated elite began to BELIEVE IN DARWINISM and began to question the Bible and tear it down.


Now fast forward to today.  Women in America no longer value their KINDNESS and MERCY.  We lift up cutthroat, catty corporate executives and political figures as role models.  And, from an early age, girls are encouraged to be tough and aggressive instead of KIND AND MERCIFUL.

Just like ancient ISRAEL, that’s just one of the first symptoms of a disease that has been eating away at our society for a long time.  It is a DISEASE called… wanting to behave on our own terms.

But not only did ISRAEL BEHAVE on their own terms, they WORSHIPPED on their own terms.

AMOS 4:4-5 (NIV):

[4] “Go to Bethel and sin; go to Gilgal and sin yet more. Bring your sacrifices every morning, your tithes every three years.

[5] Burn leavened bread as a thank offering and brag about your freewill offerings–boast about them, you Israelites for this is what you love to do,” declares the Sovereign LORD.


Both Bethel and Gilgal originally had been wonderful places of WORSHIP for God.

BETHEL was the place where Abraham set up and altar to God–Jacob saw the LORD there and also one of the places SAMUEL judged.

BUT over the years, the people corrupted the place of worship.  Jeroboam set up the golden calf and that marked the beginning of a long history of idolatry and false worship there.

Both BETHEL & GILGAL has historically been places of WORSHIP.  But over the years, the WORSHIP had become empty and even despicable to God.

The people were going through ALL the motions, even going over and above–bringing SACRIFICES much more than required.

They TITHED much more often than was required.

Their outward shows of RELIGION were over and above.

Most would say that would be a good thing.  Well, not if their heart was in the shape theirs was in.

Camouflage Heart/Google Images

Camouflage Heart/Google Images

Because they came to offer sacrifices just as a show, their SACRIFICE didn’t indicate a HEART CHANGE.

THE FREEWILL OFFERINGS were proclaimed and published as mandatory; they were no longer FREE!  They were under obligation.

They were worshipping, but on their own terms–they didn’t worship with a changed and contrite heart or out of a FREE LOVE of God.

They did it for show!

Doesn’t that sound like the church today?  We want to WORSHIP Him on our terms.  We want to come to church to make us FEEL GOOD, or get our batteries recharged.

Or, we come to church out of some sort of OBLIGATION.

We look for a church that will meet our needs or will suit our personal tastes.

If the ‘musk’ isn’t the way we like it, we leave.  We have become consumers rather than worshippers.

And when everything falls in line of our needs, we smile and sing,  “Praise God from whom all blessings flow.”

ISRAEL tried to meet God on their terms…

They BEHAVED on their terms and they worshipped on their terms and NOT what God wanted of them.

And it’s not what God wants of us either.

But God doesn’t force us to do anything.  Just like He didn’t force ISRAEL to change.  He didn’t force them–He persuaded them to meet Him on His terms.



What our God’s Terms?

051807CARPFISHjc10 Sports photo by Jim Commentucci 5/18/07 A common carp weighing in the mid teens fights at the surface against French teammates Numa Marengo and Frederic Labrousse during the second day of fishing Friday in the American Carp Society's Northeast Regionals tournament on the Seneca River in Baldwinsville. The fish was caught on a flavored dough bait called "boilies." FISHING DERBY

He tells us in VERSE 2:  “The LORD GOD has sworn by His HOLINESS that behold, the days shall come upon you when they shall take you away with hooks and the last of you with fish-hooks.”

His terms are HOLINESS–it’s TERMS He swears by.

JESUS summed up GOD’S TERMS in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:48):

“Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father

which is in heaven is perfect.”  ~ King James Bible

The AMPLIFIED bible adds brackets to end of this verse.  I believe it clarifies the verse even more:

[that is, grow into complete maturity of godliness

in mind and character, having reached the proper

height of virtue and integrity].


And ISRAEL didn’t even come close.

BUT GOD, in His GRACE, warned them every step of the way.  He WARNED them that their disobedience would bring JUDGMENT.

God changes the picture here…

It goes from picturing the WOMAN OF ISRAEL as fat and happy cows…to picturing them as FISH ON A HOOK.

I know what happens when I’ve gone fishing to a nearby lake and caught fish.  I hooked it and drag it out of the place where it was comfortable (You place the fish in an environment that is harsh and hostile to it).


stock-photo-mess-of-catfish-on-a-stringer-lying-on-the-bank-of-a-river-180460181His warning to the people were literally fulfilled by the Assyrians, who led ISRAEL into CAPTIVITY just a few years later.

In a few short years, ISRAEL went from unprecedented economic and military prosperity to being drug into captivity like FISH on a stringer.

Has GOD given us warnings?


His terms of perfection are the same as they have always been.  Along with His TERMS OF PERFECTION, He has given His PROVISION OF GRACE.

GRACE that our IMPERFECTIONS are covered by the BLOOD of His Son JESUS CHRIST.

He takes away our SIN and gives us HIS PERFECTION–HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS.  But He only does that when we TRUST Him as our LORD & SAVIOR!

The Bible is full of WARNINGS when we refuse His warnings and rebel.



AMOS 4:6-11 (NAS bible):

[6] “But I gave you also cleanness of teeth in all your cities  And lack of bread in all your places,  Yet you have not returned to Me,” declares the LORD.

[7] “And furthermore, I withheld the rain from you  While there were still three months until harvest.  Then I would send rain on one city  And on another city I would not send rain;  One part would be rained on,  While the part not rained on would dry up.

[8] “So two or three cities would stagger to another city to drink water;  But would not be satisfied;  Yet you have not returned to Me,” declares the LORD.

[9] “I smote you with scorching wind and mildew;  And the caterpillar was devouring  Your many gardens and vineyards, fig trees and olive trees;  Yet you have not returned to Me,” declares the LORD.

[10] “I sent a plague among you after the manner of Egypt;  I slew your young men by the sword along with your captured horses,  And I made the stench in your camp rise up in your nostrils;  Yet you have not returned to Me,” declares the LORD.

[11] “I overthrew you as God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah,  And you were like a firebrand snatched from a blaze;  Yet you have not returned to Me,” declares the LORD.

GOD JUDGED the world in a flood and He will judge the world with fire.  Everything in between… is His PERSUASION.

In VERSE 6, He PERSUADED Israel with famine.

“CLEAN TEETH” wasn’t a compliment on their dental hygiene.  It meant they had no food to dirty their teeth with.

In VERSES 7-8, God gave them drought to try to PERSUADE them to turn to Him.

In VERSE 9, He gave them, as the Amplified Bible reads…”BLIGHT”.  

BLIGHT in Detroit, Michigan USA

BLIGHT in Detroit, Michigan USA

DEFINITION OF BLIGHT= [1] “Any of numerous plant diseases resulting in sudden conspicuous wilting and dying and the effects thereof…”  [2] “An agent or action that harms or ruins the VALUE or success of something”  (See footnote [i] ). 

In VERSE 10, He gave them PESTILENCE and WAR to persuade them…

AND in VERSE 11, A Supernatural DEFECT…

Many of the things we see as TRIALS as given to us persuades us, to return to Him.

Look at AMERICA as an example –  

  • After the Civil War there was a national REVIVAL.
  • After the Great Depression, there followed national REVIVAL.

After most great times of TROUBLE & TRIAL, there has been periods of a national return to the LORD.  Until recently.

Even after 9/11, Bible sales across America went through the roof!  But there was a shifting between 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina.

When Katrina happened, there was a tremendous outpouring from the churches at first. But the people weren’t looking to God–they were looking to government to supply their needs.

God PERSUADED AMERICA to turn to Him, and as a whole…we didn’t.

INSTEAD, we turned to FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Assistance).

INSTEAD of REPENTANCE, we saw blame and cast it.

INSTEAD of falling on our knees and crying out for God to SAVE us as a country, the politicians cried out to the Casinos to save them.

God is persuading us today, just like He persuaded Israel in Amos.

GOD PERSUADES with clean teeth and tragedy.  

The question is, are we LISTENING? Or, are we like ISRAEL?

ISRAEL tried to meet God on their TERMS–and they BEHAVED on their TERMS.

But God didn’t just let them go.  He persuaded them on HIS TERMS…HE WARNED them on HIS TERMS.


[12] “Therefore thus will I do to you O Israel; and because I will do this to you, prepare to meet your God, O Israel!

[13] For behold, He Who forms the mountains and creates the wind and declares to man what is his thought,  Who makes the morning darkness and treads on the heights of the earth–the Lord, the God of hosts, is His name!”

After I first read those verses in study, I started skimming back through verses 6-11; looking at the last phrase of each verse; looking at each of the five attempts God made to get ISRAEL’S attention.

They were answered the same way,

“Yet you did not return to Me.”

The people were going to come to God on their own TERMS.

  • They wanted to be FAT & COMFORTABLE…
  • They wanted to BEHAVE as they saw fit…
  • They wanted to put an “I LOVE JESUS” T-shirt on and claim to be God’s children.
  • They wanted to WORSHIP God, but they wanted to worship Him in a way that pleased them.
  • They wanted to be ‘pumped up’; going to church, wearing the local professional team’s football jerseys and stocking caps, without any commitment to Christ.

Through ALL of that outward devotion, God leveled the same charge:  “you have not returned to Me.”

ISRAEL’S TERMS were selfish and insufficient to meet God in relationship.

So the question is presented to the Church today.

What are we doing with God’s Grace?

Are you in rejection of it, behaving on your TERMS?  Are you rejecting it by worshipping on your own terms?

Each one of us will meet God face to face one day.  Are you going to do it on YourTERMS or on His TERMS?

If you do it on YOUR TERMS, Hebrews 10:31 says,  “It is a fearful (formidable and terrible) thing to incur the divine penalties and be cast into the hands of the living God!”

BUT, if you meet Him on HIS TERMS, through the BLOOD of His Son Jesus Christ, this is the PROMISE found in Revelation 22:1-4:



How do you intend to meet God this day, this week, this month, this year?




Footnote [i] :  The Free Dictionary by Farlex.

PHOTOS:  Google Images.

Bible Translations Used:  Amplified bible except where noted.

Excerpts From Commentaries Used:  Second Covenant Lawsuit – Amos 4:1-13; Cows of Bashan (Forerunner Commentary) – Bible Tools.






HALLOWEEN “Just Harmless Fun, Right?”


I originally POSTED this blog back in 2011 and I repost every year. I was going to forget to reblog this year, and then…I read some others take on HALLOWEEN. Read it, if you get a chance, or you can delete it/ignore it. Your choice.

Originally posted on The WORD Detective:

“Aren’t they CUTE?”

Many Christians believe participation in Halloween is a form of involvement in worthless deeds; “evil and darkness” as one source proclaimed.  However, many people today consider modern-day Halloween activities just harmless fun.  Something that they looked forward to as a kid and their children and grandchildren look forward to every October 31st.

I walked into a local large grocery chain store this past week and was overwhelmed by the sight and sounds of displays of Halloween decorations.  Masks, ghost sounds, Jack-o-lanterns, smoke blowing devices and on and on.  I have friends in the church who have said that they don’t participate in the actually trick or treating anymore but they love seeing their grandkids all dressed up as ‘bees and bee-keepers’ during Halloween.  Afterall, “they don’t dress up in ghost and goblin or evil costumes!”  All of these viewpoints, the worlds and some Christians traditional ideas, I thought would be worthy…

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Wearing the “I’m Into JESUS, But I’m Not Legalistic” Badge


COMPUTER Specialist (Didier Stevens) placed a humorous Ad campaign on Google+.  

The Ad read,  “Is your PC (Personal Computer) virus-free? Get it infected here!”

A VIRUS is NOT your friend for they hurt your computers, and you don’t want to be “infected” by them.

Steven’s Ad wasn’t serious, it was something of a joke.  Clicking the Ad didn’t result in a VIRUS infecting your computer.  But some people actually clicked on to this Ad!

Actually, 400 people signed up to have a VIRUS infect/damage their computer.

(Patrick D. Dolum, Heartright.org 07/26/07).

Why would people do that???  It makes no sense.  A VIRUS would hurt their Computer.

The Bible Mentions A Different Kind Of VIRUS–SIN

EPHESIANS 5:3-5 (The MESSAGE bible):

[3] Don’t allow love to turn into lust, setting off a downhill slide into sexual promiscuity, filthy practices, or bullying greed.

[4] Though some tongues just love the taste of gossip, Christians have better uses for language that. Don’t talk dirty or silly. Thanksgiving is our dialect.

[5] You can be sure that using people or religion or things just for what you can get out of them–the usual variations of idolatry–will get you nowhere, and certainly nowhere near the kingdom of Christ, the kingdom of God.


Other than WORDS associated with deity, most PROFANITY involves…the God-related curses are right off the table, if one takes the third commandment seriously at all.

But what is a Christian to do with the remaining “strong language” written and shared on social media today?

Don’t misunderstand my reasons of concern with “strong language”–I personally use FACEBOOK for social contact and…publishing my weekly Blog with other groups and I witness others comments and the effect they might and will have on people.

Ephesians 5, talks about several VIRUSES (“sins”)…

My FOCUS for this post is on three of them:


Colossians 3:8 says,

“But now rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and FILTHY LANGUAGE from your lips”  (NIV Bible).   [I capitalized “filthy language” for emphasis only]

AND, JESUS condemned the Pharisees with these words:

“You offspring of vipers!  How can you speak good things when you are evil–wicked? For out of the fullness–the overflow, the superabundance–of the HEART the mouth speaks.  

The good man from his inner good treasure flings forth good things, and the evil man out of his inner evil storehouse flings forth evil things”  (Matthew  12:34-35 Amp. bible).

The “OVERFLOW OF THE HEART” going on daily in Social Media…

There may not be “speaking”…but they ARE writing in their thought process of what’s in their hearts.

And a lot of that “writing” deals with…anger, rage, bad feelings toward others, curses and slander, and FILTHY LANGUAGE–“unwholesome” communication stuff going on there.

 SOCIAL MEDIA Can Be A Great Place To Talk With Your Friends…

images (1)

At the same time, social media can also be a terrible place filled with evil and bitterness and darkness.  A place where JESUS and His Church can be attacked and cursed.

Although FACEBOOK can be a fun place to chat, Christians need to be as careful there…as the world is watching.

So, how do we deal with this problem?

And perhaps, you don’t think there is a “problem” to deal with.

BUT besides myself, if you find there is a problem, how should we stop ourselves from being involved?

FIRST off–we need to realize that this isn’t an “internet” problem.

This problem existed long before Mark Zuckerberg’s idea became a reality, or even computers were ever thought of.

JAMES writes in his letter to Jewish Christians–

James 3:6-8 (AMP):

[6] And the tongue [is] a fire. [The tongue is a] world of wickedness set among our members, contaminating and depriving the whole body and setting on fire the wheel of truth–the cycle of man’s nature–being itself ignited by hell (Gehenna).

[7] For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea animal, can be tamed and has been tamed by human genius (nature).

[8] But the human tongue can be tamed by no man. It is (an undisciplined, irreconcilable) restless evil, full of death-bringing poison.

Our Church’s Responsibility…

tongue-on-fireFIRST, I believe the church needs to realize its part in dealing with the “human tongue”.

Not dealing with the content on social media only spreads the “fire” and because refusing to step up…a bad situation can only get worse.

ILLUS:  Recently, I heard one youth minister who found a novel way to confront immoral Facebook postings…he said “I’ve read some of my youth group members posts in front of my Youth Group. That put a stop to it!”

When the church does its part of confronting SIN…sin backs off.

Ephesians 5:11-14 (NIV):

[11]  Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 

[12]  For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret.

[13]  But everything exposed by the light becomes visible,  [14] for it is light that makes everything visible.  

That is why it is said:

“Wake up, O sleeper,

rise from the dead,

and Christ will shine on you.”

A good Godly leadership and good Godly friends will lovingly confront their fellow brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus who DON’T do what they should be doing.


Good Christian friends should be able to remind us now and then, when we step over the line with our words; spoken or written.

If necessary, the church leadership should do this, as the Bible commands.

Ideally, it should never get that far.  As Bible believing Christians, we really should police ourselves.

We should be so in LOVE with JESUS, we realize how badly we can hurt our Savior, when we say and write things that are obscene or hurtful.

How do we do that?

JESUS SAID  “The good man from his inner good treasure flings forth good things, and the evil man out of his inner evil storehouse flings forth evil things” ~ Matt. 12:35 AMP).

So, it’s very simple.  The EVIL THINGS that come out of us are from the EVIL THINGS stored up inside of us.  They didn’t just “slip out’–they were already “stored” in the heart.

Computer geeks have a very scientific phrase to describe this process:  “Garbage in…garbage out.”

If you don’t want bad words coming out of your mouth, then don’t surround yourself with that kind of language.

Don’t spend your time with influences that will fill your hearts and minds with mean-spirited and nasty language and attitudes.


My last place of employment before I retired, PONOGRAPHY, ‘Filty Mouths’, was a daily filled routine by male and female employees alike.

My boss knew that I was a Christian, and trying to irritate me, would call me into his office …and there on his computer screen…PONOGRAHY.  He never turned around when I entered, but intuitively, he knew I was standing in the doorway.

“Mel, come over here.  I need to show you something.”

I would stand outside the door in the hallway, and say, “John, if it’s that important…call me on the inner office speaker phone.”  He never would.

Areas of Influence…

There are certain TV programs, movies in the local theaters, I won’t watch.  And adding, magazines on display at the check-out stands in stores I intentionally turn my head from–although tempted to read the headlines anyway.

It takes steadfastness and discipline on my part to stay away from certain outside influences; I just don’t want anything planted in my thoughts that will affect my testimony as a Christian witness.

You can’t totally isolate yourself from all outside influences–

We are surrounded by lots of people who curse and speak nasty things.

The apostle Paul told the church in Corinth–they had to realize that they lived in a pagan world:

1 Corinthians 5:9-10 (NET Bible):

[9] “I wrote you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people.  [10] In no way did I mean the immoral people of this world or the greedy and swindlers and idolaters, since you would then have to go out of this world.”


It is important to be careful what you allow to be stored up in your heart.  JESUS said, “the evil man out of his inner evil storehouse flings forth evil things (Matt. 12:35b.).  

So we don’t want to go there.

The Old EMPTY Bucket Story

But too often–that’s all people think a HOLY LIFE is like.  They live by the “empty bucket” theology. They think that if they can empty out all the nasty influences of life and become pure and holy, and that all the words they say and write will be nice and kind.

But if that’s all they do…(if all they do is “EMPTY THE BUCKET”), they really miss the real purpose.  All they wind up with is an OLD EMPTY BUCKET.

And, as I have learned by experience, an empty bucket, eventually gets refilled with something.  Sometimes it gets filled with things that are even worse than what we emptied of before.

Look again at what JESUS said in Matt. 12:35a.:

“The good man from his inner good treasure flings forth good things”

It is not enough to just EMPTY the bucket of BAD STUFF.  You’ve got to FILL the bucket with good stuff.

JESUS said a GOOD MAN “flings forth” (AMP) good things in his heart.


“Let there be no filthiness (obscenity, indecency) nor foolish and sinful (silly and corrupt) talk, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting or becoming; BUT INSTEAD voice your THANKFULNESS [to God]”  (Ephesians 5:4).

“And whatever you do [no matter what it is] in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus and in [dependence upon] His Person, giving praise to God the Father through Him”  (Colossians 3:17).

We NEED to FILL OUR BUCKET with such an attitude of Gratitude to God…no room for anything else.  We might not be able to leave this world & all its influences upon us, but we can become so FILLED with our RELATIONSHIP with God that the world just can’t force its way in.

The Present Age of the Computer–

It is hard to go on the internet without encountering VIRUSES.

And all because of mean spiritual, hateful people who try to hurt others by damaging someone else’s computer.

Because of these ‘virus makers,’ you can’t get on the INTERNET without exposing your computer to these sources.


Depending on how much protection you’ve stored up & purchased from these companies, their PROTECTION supposedly, prevents the VIRUSES on the internet.


A Heart Filled With Thanks Is The VIRUS PROTECTOR We Need…

How to SHIELD ourselves from storing up evil thoughts and words in our hearts.  

The more filled our hearts are with the thoughts of God and His kindness to us, the lest prone we are to spout off with foul language and nasty things you share on whatever SOCIAL MEDIA you are currently participating in.

David Steindl-Rast once said,

“…in our English language there is no such thing as being half full of thanks or gratitude; we are either thankFUL or grateFUL.”


Viruses infect our PCs (Personal Computers), while SIN infects our PLs (Personal Lives).

FACEBOOK and the like, have become one place where we can see certain VIRUSES/SINS that INFECT the language used and the attitudes we try to conceal.

You might not think you’re “cursing” — but in retrospect, you probably not aware of malware/viruses on your computer until… the screen goes black.  But then, it’s too late to do anything about it.

The “Mean-spiritedness” and “Cursing” Virus Exposed –

The way to cut down on cursing and mean-spiritedness starts with AWARENESS–focusing on Christ and His Kindness–where there isn’t room left for the thoughts of this world.

And, when we do that–people see something different in our life–a consistency–something that is so satisfying that this is what they want too.

So lets WATCH our words and what we SHARE with others on social media.

Our attitude and our language can be infectious–good or bad.



Google Image & Photo Pin


Amplified Bible, except where noted in the text.

INTEGRITY in a World of Change!


Pastor spoke of the importance of INTEGRITY within his message this morning. I thought I would add my thoughts in reposting this Blog from the past.

Originally posted on The WORD Detective:



One of the hardest aspects in living your life is INTEGRITY being consistent.  But first, let me give a secular definition of the word, then we will getter a better meaning set in our minds:

INTEGRITY:  A concept of consistency of actions, values, methods, measures, principles, expectations, and outcomes.  In ethics, INTEGRITY is regarded as the honest and truthfulness or accuracy on one’s actions.  INTEGRITY can be regarded as the OPPOSITE of hypocrisy”  Quoted from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

With all the problems we face throughout our lives, no wonder many fail to act and react consistently in each situation.

In this blog, I will continue my detective work; digging in the Biblical evidence contained in The Book of Daniel Chapter 5. 

DANIEL is now approximately eighty years old.  He would be considered by all standards in any society…

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