Sunday, April 9, 2017

Sunday - God's Saving Love in Christ - John 3:1-16 - 4/9/2017

Verse 14 (crucifixion) And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so the Son of man be lifted up:

Nicodemus personal name meaning "innocent of blood." John identifies Nicodemus as a Pharisee, "a ruler of the Jews," that is, a member of the Sanhedrin, the Jewish ruling council, & as a "teacher of Israel," that is, an authority on the interpretation of the Hebrew scripture. Nicodemus coming at night suggests his timid & his trek from the darkness of his own sin & ignorance to the light of Jesus. Nicodemus greeted Jesus with a title of respect, "Rabbi" (teacher), recognizing Him as a God sent teacher whose signs bore witness to the presence of God. Jesus replied that Nicodemus could never see the Kingdom of God without being "born again" or "born of water & Spirit." Nicodemus could only marvel at the impossibility of such a thing.

True to his name, Nicodemus defended Christ before his peers who were unaware that one of their number might have believed in him.

The reference to Nicodemus' initial coming at night highlights his later public participation in Jesus' burial. Nicodemus contribution was enough aloes & spices to prepare a King for burial, & so he did. On a deeper level it recognized that in His role as King of the Jews.

The Pharisees were the most devout of Jews. The Kingdom of God is entered, not by moral achievement, but by a transformation wrought by God. Birth into the new order is through water (referring to baptism; & the Spirit). Jesus descended from heaven to bring eternal life, (participation in God's life), through being lifted up on the cross.

Reference summary used from: An Ecumenial Study Bible, The New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocrypha RSV & Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary

Saturday, April 1, 2017

God as our Shepherd - Psalm/Tehillim 23 - April 2, 2017

An expression of confidence in God's protection (a song of trust). The LORD is compared to a shepherd. Soul means vitality, life. Path of righteousness, or "of rightness," that is, right paths which suits the context better. Shadow of death is the reading of the scribes, but "deep darkness" is the better rendering; where the same Hebrew expression occurs. The LORD is compared to a gracious host. Dwell in house of the LORD means to worship in the temple. For ever, Hebrew "for length of days," meaning as long as I live.

Jesus is the Good Shepherd. At night, sheep were often gathered into a sheepfold to protect them from thieves, weather, or wild animals. The sheepfolds were caves, sheds, or open areas surrounded by walls made of stones or branches. The sheepfold often slept in the fold to protect the sheep. Just as a shepherd cares for his sheep, Jesus the Good Shepherd, cares for his flock (those who follow him). The prophet Ezekiel, in predicting the coming of the Messiah, called him a Shepherd (Ezekiel 34:23).

The life that Jesus gives is abundantly richer & fuller. It is eternal, yet is begins immediately. Life in him is lived on a higher plain because of his overflowing forgiveness, love, & guidance.

A hired man tends the sheep for money, while the shepherd does it for love. The shepherd owns the sheep & is committed to them. Jesus is not merely doing a job, he is committed to love us & even lay down his life for us. False teachers & false prophets do not have this commitment.

The "other sheep" were non-Jews. Jesus came to save Gentiles as well as Jews. This is an insight into his worldwide mission-to die for the sins of the whole world.

Reference summary used from The New Oxford Annotated Bible with The Apocrypha Expanded Edition RSV & The Life Application Bible KJV, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, IL

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

On Rust, The Movie ... Book Excerpts Discussions

What People Are Saying About Rust the Movie:

"a shining story of rediscovering faith" - Francine Brokaw of Family Magazine Group

"... all the elements of a great mystery with a helping hand of faith." - Dana Chaffin,

"...spiritually uplifting & clearly shows that God will not forsake you & that His promises will be fulfilled. Dove is pleased to award Rust our Dove Seal for ages 12 & over." - Dove Reviews,

"...mature & engrossing ... Anyone who likes a mystery should be up for this." - Greg Wright,

RUST is an uplifting tale about faith, family, & the powerful ties that bind a community.

A unique story of friendship & calling RUST is a mystery that will leave you seeking the power of Grace. The beauty in sacrifice, & the HOPE of faith renewed.
Christian Film Database
On RUST, The Movie

Discussions In RUST The Novel:

James leaves his clerical shirt & collar on the pew when he leaves the church. Discuss the symbolism within his soul & what others might think. Is he leaving the ministry behind because he feels compelled to a new calling or is he simply running away? Can you relate to James's action?

Discuss the correlation (mutual relations) between James leaving his Heavenly Father behind while, at the same time, he works up the courage to face & repair the relationship with his earthly father. Is it easier to mend an earthly relationship of the spiritual relationship with the Almighty?

Discuss the aspects of finally recognizing when the heart begins to heal. How do you handle those often times difficult epiphany (any bodily manifestation, as of a diety. A Feast observed January 6 to commmemorate the manifestation of Christ to the Magi.

Have you ever felt so broken, so helpless, so despairing, that it seemed as if nothing matters? Did you turn to God in those times? Did you receive no as an answer, peace as an answer ... or a miracle?

Have you ever experienced an epiphany that confirms you were in the wrong? How did you handle it?

Have you even been someone's knight in shining armor, sacrificed yourself or something else of value in order to save their reputation? If so, what were your secret misgivings, if any? If not, under what circumstance would be willing to sacrifice for another?

Rust: The Novel is the plight of one pastor's crisis of faith and the struggle to save his friend's life & restore hope to a floundering community. Readers will be getting a "better, fuller, richer story in the novel," says Bernsen."

The author, Corbin Bernsen First catapulted to stardom during the 1980's by the hit NBC TV series, L.A. Law, he was nominated twice for both an Emmy Award & a Golden Globe Award. Along the way he hosted Saturday Night Live, & guest starred on Seinfeld & Star Trek to name a few notable television appearances.l

Pelican Book Group is a producer of Christ-centered fiction & is the first publisher to dedicate an entire new-adult romance imprint to promoting purity. Pelican Book Group was among the first to provide subscription-based e-books to the Christian marketplace.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Sunday - God's Love Manifest - John 15:1-17 - 3/19/17

The grapevine is a profilic plant: a single vine bears many grapes. In the Old Testament grapes symbolized Israel's fruitfulness in doing God's work on the earth. In the Passover meal, the fruit of the vine symbolized, God's goodness to His people.

Christ is the vine, & God is the husbandman who cares for the branches to make them fruitful. The branches are all who claim to be followers of Christ. The fruitful branches are true believers who by their living union with followers are as good as dead & will be cut off & cast aside.

Jesus makes a distinction between two kinds of pruning (1) separating & (2) cutting back branches. Fruitful branches are cut back to promote growth. God must sometimes discipline us to strength our character & faith. But branches that don't bear fruit are cut off at the trunk, because not only are they worthless, they often infect the rest of the tree.

Prayer, joy, & soul-winning are also fruit.

Abiding in Christ means (1) believing he is God's Son (2) receiving Him as Saviour (3) doing what God says (4) continuing in faith (5) & relating to the community of believers. Christ's body Jesus says to only live a truly good life is to stay close to him, like a branch attached to the vine. Apart from him our efforts are unfruitful.

When a vine bears "much fruit," God is glorified, for daily He sent the sunshine & rain to make the crops grow, & constantly be nurtured each tiny plant & prepared to blossomed. What a moment of glory for the Lord of the harvest when the harvest is brought into the barns, safe & ready for use! This farming picture shows how God is glorified when people come into a right relationship with him & begin to "bear much fruit" in their lives.

Joy comes from a consistent relationship with Jesus Christ. The joy of living with Jesus Christ daily keeps us levelheaded no matter how high or low our circumstances.

We are to love one another as Jesus loved us, & He loved us enough to give His life for us. Give all the love you can, & then try to give a little more.

Jesus made the first choice --- to love & to die for us; to offer us eternal life. We make the next choice --- to accept or reject His offer. Without His choice, we would have no choice.

Reference summary used from the Life Application Bible KJV, Tyndale Publishing House, Inc., Wheaton, IL

2 of 2 ... The Beginning: Prelude To The Apocalypse: Book Review

The Corinthian church was so free in the grace of God that they begin to sin with some very real consequences. The truth is that we cannot exclude either the law or faith. It is faith that frees us from the law of sin & death (Romans 8:2). The eternal or second death is what we have been set free from. The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23).

It is understood that God is the ultimate power in the universe. In heaven all the angels obey the will of God. The fact that Satan had to go to God to get permission to sift Peter is further evidence of God's complete authority. God sits on the throne & listen daily to the adversary. If the adversary brings an accusation against us, God may allow him to chasten us. This has no effect on our eternal life. This will affect the quality of our life on planet Earth.

It is through the law that all sin was made known in the universe. Until the law came, sin was not understood or known (Romans 7:7-8). In other words we all must die in the flesh to fulfill the law. So we fulfill the law by dying & we fulfill the law of grace by living. Both laws are in effect & neither has been disregarded.

We can conclude that the flesh remains under the law of death & our spirit is under the law of grace. The Corinthians began to die & became sick due to sin. Paul admonished the congregation to walk in a worthy manner when involved with holy things such as the Lord's Supper (I Corinthians 11:26-30).

Christians need to understand that the law of grace is the eternal law & affects the spirit of man in eternity.

One of the most penetrating questions about life is this: "If God is good, why does He allow evil to exist?" As we know from Jesus, Satan is the father of all evil, (John 8:44). Job calls the angelic host "the sons of God" (Job 1:6-7). We find an interesting perspective in Job.

Satan, or Lucifer, was a covering cherub (Ezekiel 28:13-15). It's apparent that Lucifer wanted to be like God (Isaiah 14:12-15).

Satan believed & preached his doctrine of equality with God through knowledge of evil. If you knew God's secret knowledge of evil you would be like God (Genesis 3:4-5). As much as God loved His family, He must give them the freedom to choose their destiny.

The knowledge of evil caught the attention of one third of the angelic hosts (Revelation 12).

God knew that all creation could only live in harmony with love if it was voluntary. Anything else is not love. God only wants those who worship Him to do so in truth & spirit (John 4:23-24).

It is important to believe every Word of God.

Man & angels had to choose by faith whether to trust God or trust Satan.

God placed two trees in the garden. The tree of life was free & it yielded its fruit for food & life. The tree of knowledge of good & evil was beautiful to behold but contained only death. It was only the knowledge of evil that could bring death. Satan believed that if Adam & Eve would eat of it they would be as gods knowing good & evil (Genesis 3:5).

Satan does not have the power to take anything. Each time you see him in heavenly scenes he is asking permission to do what he wants. He asked permission to harm Job in Job chapter one. He asked to sift Peter as wheat in Luke 22:31. In Revelation chapter twelve, Satan stands before God day & night accusing the brethren.

We are faced with the choice of trusting God by faith or living according to the way of sin (Galatians 3:11).

Enoch & Elijah was taken by God without dying. And Enoch walked with God; & he was not for God took him (Genesis 5:24). By faith Enoch was was taken away so that he did not see death (Hebrews 11:5). Then it happened, as they continued on & talked, that suddenly a chariot of fire appeared with horses of fire, & separated the two of them; & Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven (2 Kings 2:11).

Christ was not a sinner & yet He was put to death. It was the will of God that He should be put to death. Jesus must also be recompensed for the wrong done to Him. His blood redeemed us from death & we are given to Him as His bride. Not only did Christ receive all who believe in Him, but He was given the keys of death & became Lord of all (Revelation 1:17-18).

We are given enough to make a choice of faith - to accept the Bible. The Bible does not seek to answer the questions of science.

Bruce Campbell is the author of The Beginning Prelude to the Apocalypse Companion Study Guide. He has been a pastor, evangelist and a successful business man. He currently runs The Secret Place, an international ministry to ministers. He holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Divinity degree. He, along with his wife and daughter live in Picayune, MS

Saturday, March 18, 2017

1 of 2 The Begining ... Book Review

Prelude To The Apocalypse: Companion Study Guide

Paradox: A statement, doctrine, or expression seemingly absurd or contradiction to the received belief or to what would naturally be believing, but perhaps really true.

Gnotics: Of, pertaining to, or possessing knowledge;

Apocalypse: The book of Revelation ... The revelation made to the Apostle John

(John 16:12-13) I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; & He will tell you things to come.

The Scriptures clearly teach that knowledge is surpassed by the love of God in Christ (Ephesians 3:19). Knowledge is not the ultimate reality in the universe.

First, the author would like to explain to his readers the oneness of God (1 John). The most important reality about God is that He is love. John tells us that God is love. God the Father, God the Son, & God the Holy Spirit & that Spirit is love.

Here is why we need to understand the nature of love & how it can manifest in differing ways. When most people think about love they often think of love in one way only. The love that does not fail & always accepts us even when we don't deserve it. This kind of love is explained in I Corinthians 13.

God the Father represents a different manifestation of love. Protective love is rooted in righteousness.

The first paradox that was formed was found in the nature of love. God brought us life into existence & He loved His creation with an everlasting love. When sin came into existence it threatened life itself. God loved his angels but they were turning away from love to evil. God must be able to judge His own children & removed evil from existence. The love that cannot fail, by nature, cannot fail even Lucifer. God, in a sense, had to sacrifice His own heart in order to throw the diseased sons of God into the place of eternal quarantine prepared for them.

The Godhead is manisfected in differing ways even though the three manifestations are love.

Simply put, Jesus taught us that there is no giving or taking in marriage in heaven & that we will all be like angels (Matthew 22:29-30). There is no feminine in the Godhead & we know from the book of Job that angels are called the sons of God.

The Hebrew word for Spirit ("ruach") is feminine in Genesis 1:2. In the New Testament the Holy Spirit is presented in the masculine gender. Jesus calls the Holy Spirit "the Comforter" (John 16:7).

The church takes on the role of the feminine in the relation to Christ. The Greek word for church (ecclesia) is feminine in gender. The church is called the bride of the lamb (Revelation 19:7; 21:9). The church receives the Spirit (seed) & produces life (John 7:38,39).

Jesus submitted to His Father's will. Even though He was one with the Father in Spirit, He took on the role of submission. The church, in the same way, must learn to submit to the will of Christ.

The maternal side of love cries out for forgiving (Luke 23:34). Many people have asked, as did Jesus, "Why did God forsake Christ when he was on the cross (Mark 15:34).

Jesus is directly referenced to as the lamb that was sacrificed for sin. Christ was begotten of God & not created. He is the same essence, substance, or Spirit as the Father (John 16:27-28; John 10:30).

The lamb (Christ) was slain from the freedom of the world (Revelation 13:8). When the knowledge of good & evil came into existence through the law, the perfect Love (Holy Spirit) in a real sense had to be sacrificed, lest it should forgive Satan. Pure love can never turn away from the children.

The Passover lamb, in contrast to the sin offering, had to be a male lamb (Exodus 12:5-8). The Passover lamb represented represents the reality of eternal death passing over all who take Christ (the lamb) into their life. These are picture types that teach us about God's plan for redemption of all who receive Christ. It also shows us the protective side of love in that we are protected from death through Christ.

God's ways make sense & everything God made reflects something about the Godhead.

Angels were not begotten but rather created. Adam was first & Eve was begotten out of Adam. Planets & moons are one matter & are drawn together by the unknown force called gravity. Adam & Eve are one flesh & drawn together by love. The Father & Son are drawn together by the Holy Spirit of love.

Let us be glad & rejoice & give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, & His wife has made herself ready (Revelation 19:7). We should not think of these pictures types in fleshly terms but rather spiritual.

As the bride of Christ we are to yield (submit) to His will. Remember that in the Spirit there is no giving or taking in marriage but we shall all be as angels. We as His bride, must learn submission to His will & then we shall be exalted. The will of Christ is found in the Sermon on the Mount & Beatitudes. He told us to learn the ways of love.

In chapter eight of Proverbs wisdom speaks to us declaring she was brought forth from God.

Comparison between Christ & Wisdom:

Through Wisdom all things created: Psalm 104:24; Jeremiah 10:12; Proverbs 3:19

Through Christ all things created: John 1:1,9; Hebrews 1:2; Colossians 1:16

Find wisdom find life: Proverbs 8:35; Ecclesiastes 7:12; Proverbs 4:20-22

Find Christ find life: 1 John 1:12; John 14:6; John 10:10

Wisdom established from everlasting: Proverbs 8:23

Christ established from everlasting: John 8:58

Wisdom invites to eat her Bread & drink her wine: Proverbs 9:5

Jesus is the bread of life. Wine is life: John 6:33-48; Matthew 26:28

Satan will try to turn the picture of the Godhead in creation upside down. Evil will grow if left unchecked by power & strength. Evil masquerades as good & takes advantages of innocence.

Imagine a time before evil existed. There was no need for law or protective because there was no knowledge of evil. Because creation was innocence, God had to create a way of understanding what sin was. He spoke into existence or permissive side of love is perfectly explained in I Corinthians 13.

Mankind will attempt to become as god & reinterpret all things through selfish ambition carnal desire & call it freedom.

The world is attempting to cast off God in order to pursue carnal lust & selfish desire. The law of God is hated by those who proclaim freedom. Anyone who stands in the way of this "freedom" will be hated & reviled, even as God is reviled.

Revile: To address scandalous language; abuse; be abusive in speech or act.

When there is no longer anything to stop sin, it will run rampant.

Evil must be resisted. God the Father must turn away from His own children (fallen angels, sons of God) & eventually separate them from the family. The disease called sin must be put away into a quarantine zone forever. That zone is known as hell.

There is a concerted effort in this day to make boys more like girls in their emotions. When men become emotionally driven instead of righteously driven there will be an eroding of strength in society.

Bruce Campbell is the author of The Beginning Prelude to the Apocalypse Companion Study Guide. He has been a pastor, evangelist and a successful business man. He currently runs The Secret Place, an international ministry to ministers. He holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Divinity degree. He, along with his wife and daughter live in Picayune, MS

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Saturday - Thankful for God's Steadfast Love - Psalm 40:1-10 - 3/4/17

Waiting for God to help us is not easy, but David received four benefits from waiting: God (1) lifted him out of his despair, (2) set his feet on firm ground, (3) established his goings (steadied him as he walked), & (4) gave him a new song.

The religious ritual of David's day involved sacrificing animals in the Tabernacle. Today we often make rituals of going to church, taking communion, or paying tithe. Make sure you give God the obedience & life-long service he desires from you.

Jesus portrayed this attitude of obeying & serving God (John 4:34;5:30).

God shows his righteousness & faithfulness to his people in his offer of salvation. David boldly proclaimed this to those around him. We want to tell other people what God has done for us. Since it is natural to share a good bargain with others or recommend a skillful doctor, then we should also feel natural sharing what God has done for us.

People who are faithful to us accept & love us, even when we are unloveable. Faithful people keep their promises whether promises of support or marriage vows. He loves us in spite of our constant bent toward sin, & he keeps all his promises he has made to us, even when we break our promises to him.

Reference summary used from the Life Application Bible KJV, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois