Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Finding JESUS in the Old Testament

The whole Bible is supposed to be about Jesus, even the Old Testament. It is there that we find prophesies and foreshadows of the coming Messiah and Savior. As I was reading through the Old Testament this month and tried to find a reference to Him in each book. There are several books with obvious references to Christ, some with more of a “shadow" but there are a few books that it was rather hard to find Him in. Those of the last category are marked with*. If you find something better to use for those books, be sure to comment!

Genesis 3:15
[God speaking to Satan:] “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel."

Exodus 12:5-7, 13
“Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats. Now you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month. Then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at twilight. And they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses where they eat it… Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you…”

Leviticus 16:5
 And he shall take from the congregation of the children of Israel two kids of the goats as a sin offering, and one ram as a burnt offering.

Numbers 21:8-9
Then the Lord said to Moses, "Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and it shall be that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live." So Moses made a bronze serpent, and put it on a pole; and so it was, if a serpent had bitten anyone, when he looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.

Deuteronomy 18:15
"The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear…”

Joshua 2:18-19, 21
“…unless, when we come into the land, you bind this line of scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down, and unless you bring your father, your mother, your brothers, and all your father's household to your own home. 19 So it shall be that whoever goes outside the doors of your house into the street, his blood shall be on his own head, and we will be guiltless. And whoever is with you in the house, his blood shall be on our head if a hand is laid on him…” And she bound the scarlet cord in the window.

Judges 13:18
And the Angel of the Lord said to him, "Why do you ask My name, seeing it is wonderful?"

Ruth 4:9-10
And Boaz said to the elders and all the people, "You are witnesses this day that I have bought all that was Elimelech's, and all that was Chilion's and Mahlon's, from the hand of Naomi. Moreover, Ruth the Moabitess, the widow of Mahlon, I have acquired as my wife, to perpetuate the name of the dead through his inheritance, that the name of the dead may not be cut off from among his brethren and from his position at the gate.”

1 Samuel 2:35
“Then I will raise up for Myself a faithful priest who shall do according to what is in My heart and in My mind. I will build him a sure house, and he shall walk before My anointed forever.”

2 Samuel 7:16
“And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever."

*1 Kings 7:21
Then he set up the pillars by the vestibule of the temple; he set up the pillar on the right and called its name Jachin [“he establishes”], and he set up the pillar on the left and called its name Boaz [“in him is strength”].

2 Kings 4:42-44
 Then a man came from Baal Shalisha, and brought [Elisha] bread of the firstfruits, twenty loaves of barley bread, and newly ripened grain in his knapsack. And he said, "Give it to the people, that they may eat." But his servant said, "What? Shall I set this before one hundred men?" He said again, "Give it to the people, that they may eat; for thus says the Lord: 'They shall eat and have some left over.' " So he set it before them; and they ate and had some left over, according to the word of the Lord.

*1 Chronicles 17:10b
“Furthermore I tell you that the Lord will build you a house.”

*2 Chronicles 3:1
Now Solomon began to build the house of the Lord at Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where the Lord had appeared to his father David, at the place that David had prepared on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite.

*Ezra 6:19
And the descendants of the captivity kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the first month.

*Nehemiah 13:7-9
I came to Jerusalem and discovered the evil that Eliashib had done for Tobiah, in preparing a room for him in the courts of the house of God. And it grieved me bitterly; therefore I threw all the household goods of Tobiah out of the room. Then I commanded them to cleanse the rooms; and I brought back into them the articles of the house of God

*Esther 4:14
“For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father's house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?"

Job 19:25
“For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth…”

Psalm 22:14-18
I am poured out like water, and all My bones are out of joint; My heart is like wax; it has melted within Me. My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and My tongue clings to My jaws; You have brought Me to the dust of death. For dogs have surrounded Me; the congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me. They pierced My hands and My feet; I can count all My bones. They look and stare at Me. They divide My garments among them, and for My clothing they cast lots.

*Proverbs 8:35
For whoever finds me finds life, and obtains favor from the Lord

*Ecclesiastes 12:13-14
Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man's all. For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil.

Song of Songs 4:8
Come with me from Lebanon, my spouse, with me from Lebanon. Look from the top of Amana, from the top of Senir and Hermon, from the lions' dens, from the mountains of the leopards.

Isaiah 53:5-6
But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

Jeremiah 23:5-6
"Behold, the days are coming," says the Lord, "that I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; a King shall reign and prosper, and execute judgment and righteousness in the earth. In His days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell safely; now this is His name by which He will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.”

Lamentations 3:58
“O Lord, You have pleaded the case for my soul; You have redeemed my life.”

Ezekiel 34:23
I will establish one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them--My servant David. He shall feed them and be their shepherd.

Daniel 7:13-14
"I was watching in the night visions, and behold, One like the Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before Him. Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom the one which shall not be destroyed.

Hosea 3:1-2
Then the Lord said to me, "Go again, love a woman who is loved by a lover and is committing adultery, just like the love of the Lord for the children of Israel, who look to other gods and love the raisin cakes of the pagans." So I bought her for myself for fifteen shekels of silver, and one and one-half homers of barley.

Joel 3:21
“For I will acquit them of the guilt of bloodshed, whom I had not acquitted; for the Lord dwells in Zion."

Amos 9:11
"On that day I will raise up The tabernacle of David, which has fallen down, and repair its damages; I will raise up its ruins, and rebuild it as in the days of old…”

Obadiah 1:17
"But on Mount Zion there shall be deliverance, and there shall be holiness; the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions.”

Jonah 1:17
And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

Micah 5:2
"But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting."

*Nahum 1:15
Behold, on the mountains the feet of him who brings good tidings, who proclaims peace!

*Habakkuk 3:18
Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.

Zephaniah 3:15 & 17
The Lord has taken away your judgments, He has cast out your enemy. The King of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst… The Lord your God in your midst, the Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing."

*Haggai 2:23
'In that day,' says the Lord of hosts, 'I will take you, Zerubbabel My servant, the son of Shealtiel,' says the Lord, 'and will make you like a signet ring; for I have chosen you,' says the Lord of hosts." (Zerubbabel was a descendant of King David and in line of Christ)

Zechariah 6:12-13 (there are several in this book)
Thus says the Lord of hosts, saying: "Behold, the Man whose name is the BRANCH! From His place He shall branch out, and He shall build the temple of the Lord; Yes, He shall build the temple of the Lord. He shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule on His throne; so He shall be a priest on His throne, and the counsel of peace shall be between them both."

Malachi 3:1-3
"And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple, even the Messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight. Behold, He is coming," says the Lord of Hosts. "But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner's fire and like launderer's soap. He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver; He will purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer to the Lord an offering in righteousness. 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Musings from a Christian Concert

On March 1, I was able to go with some friends to a Casting Crowns concert, also featuring For King and Country and Laura Story.

 I will say right off that I really hope Laura Story can come for a whole concert sometime – what an inspiring woman of God and incredible songwriter! (I had no idea that she wrote “Indescribable” and “Mighty to Save”!!!!)

This was my 3rd Casting Crowns concert (2nd in the last 6 months). I’ve been to a number of Christian concerts over the years, but they have been my favorite. They put all their lyrics up on the screen so it’s not just a concert – its a few thousand people all singing worship to the Lord.

As they are youth leaders most of their songs come from messages that they gave to their youth groups which explains why many of their songs are story-like. And why, Mark Hall (the lead singer) joked they can’t write a song shorter than 5 minutes! :-) 

For the past year especially, their music has really spoken to my spirit, encouraged me, I think because they speak realistically to life’s struggle and suffering, and bring the hope that only Christ can give. They have also led me to worship God and I greatly appreciate their heart and their lyrics. Some have said they’re lyrics are simplistic, and yes, they often are. But yet, I find them simplistically deep if there is such a thing. There are beautiful nuggets of truth in their songs, and words that speak deep to the soul.

If your eyes are on the storm
You'll wonder if I love you still
But if your eyes are on the cross
You'll know I always have and I always will

And not a tear is wasted
In time, you'll understand
I'm painting beauty with the ashes
Your life is in My hands

So when you're on your knees and answers seem so far away
You're not alone, stop holding on and just be held
Your worlds not falling apart, its falling into place
I'm on the throne, stop holding on and just be held
Just be held, just be held
  (-“Just Be Held”)

Here I am, Lord, and I'm drowning in your sea of forgetfulness
The chains of yesterday surround me
I yearn for peace and rest
I don't want to end up where You found me
And it echoes in my mind, keeps me awake tonight
I know You've cast my sin as far as the east is from the west
And I stand before You now as though I've never sinned
But today I feel like I'm just one mistake away from You leaving me this way

I know You've washed me white, turned my darkness into light
I need Your peace to get me through, to get me through this night
I can't live by what I feel, but by the truth Your word reveals
I'm not holding on to You, but You're holding on to me
You're holding on to me

Jesus, You know just how far the east is from the west
I don't have to see the man I've been come rising up in me again
In the arms of Your mercy I find rest
'cause You know just how far the east is from the west
From one scarred hand to the other
   (-  "East To West")

My favorite song of theirs at the moment (and it's not one they did at this concert either):  "At Your Feet"  -

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Reading List! (March 1, 2014)

Suffering was the theme this month. As God would have it, it was a focus for 3 weeks in my Biblical Counseling class, for which I had to read Why Does It Have to Hurt? Also, I happened to be reading through Shame Interrupted, and on my list to read was Walking With God Through Pain and Suffering! As I have been through an area of suffering this past year there’s also been so much comfort and hope in Christ I have received from this month's reading. If you've experienced suffering some of these may be helpful, and if you haven't... read to be prepared for when it does come.

Finished this month:
Shame Interrupted by Ed Welch (got this one on my Kindle!)
This book is loaded! It’s pretty long, but really gets into what shame is, the different kinds of shame and how we often confuse it with guilt. He discusses uncleanness in the Old Testament and how it’s associated with shame, but yet there’s a difference between them. And beyond just being clean, we can be made holy. This is really important book for anyone struggling with shame from their past.
 “We can be bold in the face of shame because shame can be removed, though not by something we do.” There is an answer, there is hope, and it’s found in the Gospel. “The character of God is the basis for our connection to him, not our intrinsic worth. Self-worth, or anything we think would make us acceptable to God, would suit our pride but it has the disturbing side-effect of making the cross of Jesus Christ less valuable. If we have worth in ourselves, there is no reason to connect to the infinite worth of Jesus and receive what he has done for us.”
“What is the way out of shame? Knowledge that leads to belief.
Belief that leads to trust; trust in Jesus.”

The End of the Spear by Steve Saint
This was such an interesting book – a really great read! Written by the son of missionary Nate Saint who with his four friends (Jim Elliot, Pete Fleming, Ed McCully and Roger Youderian) had been murdered by the Waodani Indians in Ecuador in 1956, this book tells Steve’s journey of going back to Ecuador years later, learning more about the details surrounding his father’s death and then moving to live with the very people who had taken his life. I loved learning more of this story, and the amazing work that God did in and through this tribe that formerly were greatly feared killers. If I was impacted by this story before (and I was very much), I am even more so now! You should read it - you will be greatly inspired!
“After learning in detail what happened on January 8, 1956 – while I was so anxiously waiting to see the speak of my dad’s little 56 Henry airplane appear over Penny Ridge – I believe God was much more involved in what happened than merely failing to intervene.” (p. 59)

Why Does It Have to Hurt? by Dan McCartney
This book was really insightful on the topic of suffering. He does a great job discussing what suffering is, the difference between the suffering we can bring upon ourselves, suffering we receive because of the actions/inaction of others, and suffering that is simply caused by living in a fallen world. He looks a Job’s suffering and his honest questions before God. He struggled, but yet in the end was still vindicated by God. He discusses God’s purpose in our pain and the hope that we have to cling to in Christ! It’s a weighty book, but what great encouragement!

“God’s sovereignty is the most important groundwork for any biblical dealing with suffering. If God does not have control over evil, then evil is only senseless and meaningless…” (p. 11)
 “People who are suffering usually do not get a great deal of encouragement from doctrine unless that doctrine is made personal somehow…. This is not to minimize the importance of propositional truth. But it will not be important to us until it is personal.” (p. 60)

Walking With God Through Pain and Suffering by Tim Keller
If there was one thing that I got out of this book, it would be enough to change me: “God is a suffering God.” Christ Himself suffered as we suffer, but He suffered it to the highest degree – so much deeper than we ever could. He entered into our suffering, and we enter into His. I have received SO much encouragement from this!

The book is divided into 3 sections. In the first Keller talks about what suffering is and how different cultures view it. It was really insightful to me on why Westerners/American’s are so concerned about avoiding pain and suffering at all costs, their worldview is primary about individual freedom and happiness so suffering does not fit. All other cultures see suffering as having a purpose of some sort, but western worldview doesn’t allow that option. It’s tragic really. Life that holds no meaning outside of yourself is deadly. He writes, “Nothing is more important than to learn how to maintain a life of purpose in the midst of painful adversity.” (p. 13) Only Biblical Christianity gives us this.

The second section looks at what the Bible has to say about suffering. The challenge it presents to our faith and God’s sovereignty over suffering and evil. It also discusses mans different responses to suffering and his responsibility in it. The last two chapters were very helpful as well: “The Reason for Suffering” & “Learning to Walk”. He writes, “Suffering will either leave you a much better person or a much worse one than you were before… the wrong strategy will usually mean that one’s character becomes weaker and less integrated while the right approach to suffering can lead to remarkable growth. Trials and troubles in life, which are inevitable, will either make you or break you.” (p. 190)

In the final section, Keller shares with us practical ways to walk with God through the suffering He’s placed in our lives. Weeping, trusting God, prayer, finding peace through thinking, praising God and loving others (this chapter was really good!) and then hoping in Him are all ways to help us walk through suffering and come out stronger.  He writes, “Job never sees the big picture, he sees only God. But that’s what we really need – for all eternity.” (p. 284) And, “There is only one thing that is immutable [unchanging]. It is God, his presence and his love. The only love that won’t disappoint you is one that can’t change, that can’t be lost, that is not based on the ups and downs of life or of how well you live.” (p. 304) CHRIST IS ENOUGH!

"Suffering will only make us better... if, during it, we teach ourselves to love God better than before. This happens by recognizing God's suffering for us in Jesus Christ, and by praying, thinking and trusting that love into our souls." (p. 322)

Reading plan for this month:
I said last month that I had something special in mind for this month. I’ve had a few people tell me they are anxiously waiting to hear this…. So here it is! One my goals that I set at the beginning of this year was that I would take the month of March and commit to reading ONLY the Bible (only with the exception of my assigned reading for my CCEF class, which will include a couple articles and one book: The Christian Life by Sinclair Ferguson).

My actual goal is to read the entire Bible in the next 31 days… I will be reading through a chronological Bible that I have and will require me reading 50 pages a day. A lot, but we’ll see how it goes!

But, an important reminder: “One bit of Bible prayed over, and bedewed with the Spirit, and made alive, though it be only a short sentence of six words, will profit you more than a hundred chapters without the Spirit.”   – C.H. Spurgeon

How about you? How about just committing to reading twice what you normally read each day, or x-number of chapters? If you’re not reading your Bible daily, than just start with 1! That’s what I did 15 years ago, I committed to reading at least 1 chapter a day, and now it’s a wonderful habit!

Happy reading!