Footstool

Psalms 110:1
The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.”

This psalm is one of the most detailed prophecies of Christ in the Old Testament. It goes into great detail to speak of the person and the work of the Messiah. In it we find reference to the deity of Christ when we read, “The Lord said unto my Lord.” This is nothing short of the Father referring to the Son as Yahweh. We also find reference to the Sufferings of Christ, in that he was consecrated a priest after the order of Melchizedek who would offer himself in our place in order to make a way for man to have access to God. We also see the resurrection and Ascension when we read, “Sit thou on my right hand.” And finally we see reference to the final Judgment, when all Christ’s enemies will be put under his feet.

Most of this Psalm has already been fulfilled. Christ, the Son of God came to as man and offered Himself as a sacrifice for our sin. After His crucifixion He conquered death, rose from the grave and ascended to the right hand of the Father where He intercedes on behalf of the believer and awaits the Father’s timing to return to earth as judge and King. The fulfillment of the bulk of these promises should stir us up as we await the time when Christ will come and reign. The way to be ready for that day is to accept His work on the cross in your place and follow Him completely.

Jim

 

Merry Christmas 

Zechariah 6:12-13
“Behold, the Man whose name is the BRANCH! From His place He shall branch out… 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.”

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The Bible speaks of the riches of the grace of God. Grace is a word that refers to God’s giving nature. James 1:17 puts it this way, “Every good and perfect gift comes from the father of lights in whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” Certainly, life is filled with gifts given from heaven to earth. When we gaze into the face of nature, or a new born child, we cannot help but think of the grace of God. Nevertheless, every other gift pales in comparison to the gift given on the first Christmas morning. God wrapped His Son in human flesh and gave Him to mankind to be Savior and Lord. The young Child who was born in a stable, and laid in a manger, would grow to become what the apostle John called, “the propitiation for our sins, and not ours only but the sins of the whole world” (1John 2:2). As the years went by, He would move from a manger to a cross, where He would die, to pay the debt of sin, and reconcile man to God. As you give and receive gifts this Christmas, it is our prayer you would receive the greatest gift ever given, and put your trust in Christ, as Savior and Lord.

Merry Christmas, Pastor Jim

 

 

 

 

Standing Out 

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.”

Several years ago I went to Orlando International Airport to pick up a young man whom I had never met. We had talked numerous times on the phone, but had not yet met in person. Before making the hundred mile drive to an airport that has almost thirty five million customers every year, I wanted to be sure I’d be able to pick my friend out of the hundred thousand people milling about. I asked him how I would recognize him. He responded by telling me, he had blond hair and was six feet, six inches tall. A few hours later, I walked into the airport and found him among the masses. Two characteristics were enough to distinguish him from the crowd.

Ever since the fall of man, God began promising to send a savior into the world, to restore mankind back to God. In order to distinguish the promised one from all others, certain details were given regarding his birth, life, character, and death. All of these details were designed so He would be easily recognizable among the masses. Here, Micah gives one such detail. He declares that the promised Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. This promise alone vastly decreases the possibilities as to who the Messiah is, since Bethlehem was a relatively small city, and even today does not produce a large percentage of the world’s births. This, coupled with prophecies that tell of the timing of His coming, the genealogy of the Messiah, the role He will play in humanity, and the descriptions given of his death and resurrection, makes it easy to pick Jesus out among the many who claim to know the way to God.

Clearly God wants us to know Him. The question we want to ask ourselves is whether or not you have believed in Christ as Savior, and had your sins forgiven. If not, take time right now to pray and ask Jesus to forgive you of your sin, come into your life, and help you live for Him.

Pastor Jim

 

Prophecy Fulfilled 

Micah 1:13
O inhabitant of Lachish, Harness the chariot to the swift steeds (She was the beginning of sin to the daughter of Zion), For the transgressions of Israel were found in you.”

Micah prophesy’s specifically about the cause of the fall of the Judaean city of Lachish. Lachish was the second most important city of the Judah. It was located about 30 miles southwest of Jerusalem and was designed as a stronghold to protect the nation against invasions. It was situated on a hill, surrounded by hills and fortified with great walls and gates. This seemingly impenetrable city would suffer a great defeat when, under the leadership of Sennacherib, the Assyrian forces attacked. Micah declares that the cause of their defeat was sin. The inhabitants of Lachish seemed to have introduced many of the sinful practices, rampant in Israel, to the people of Judah. Their sin would be the cause of their fall. It is worth noting,  no high walls or trained army can protect a nation that turns from God.

The fall of the city of Lachish is one of the most documented events in ancient times. Not only do the remains of the ancient city testify of its fall, but we have the biblical narrative, and the reliefs that filled the palace of the Assyrian King. We learn that a great army, armed with soldiers, archers and battering rams, came against Lachish. The soldiers erected siege mounds, enabling the wheeled battering rams to approach the city gates, while the soldiers took cover behind these massive structures. Soon the walls were broken down and the people taken captive. So proud was the Assyrian King of his victory, that he dedicated an entire room of his palace to display the victory in vivid detail. These reliefs can be seen, today, in the British museum. They show Israel being defeated, many of the soldiers being tortured, and the inhabitants being taken before the king to bow in submission. In addition to these, archeologists also found a large pit that served as a massive grave with the remains of over 1,500 bodies.

With vivid detail, the prophecy of Micah, regarding Lachish, came true. The city that introduced idolatry and wickedness to the nation, became the first to fall, and its people suffered greatly. In contrast, at the same time Lachish was falling, the inhabitants of Jerusalem looked to the Lord and repented. Perhaps it is time to take personal inventory of any areas where we might need to turn something over to God.

Pastor Jim

 

History And Prophecy 

Daniel 8:1
“In the third year of the reign of King Belshazzar a vision appeared to me—to me, Daniel—after the one that appeared to me the first time.”

Daniel is one of the most interesting books in scripture, it is filled with both history and prophecy. It records the encounters of Daniel in the palace of the king, and gives a prophetic picture of things to come. Chapter 7 focuses on two kingdoms that will arise after the fall of Babylon. The first was Persia, which is illustrated by a ram that no one could stop. The second was Greece, portrayed by a male goat with a notable horn. This goat moved with uncanny speed across the surface of the earth, until its horn was broken and four horns grew in its place. Daniel then focuses his attention upon one of the four horns, and watches as it turns against the people of God and His sanctuary.

History records that the combined forces of the Medes and Persian overthrew the Babylonian Empire, and ruled for more than two hundred years. During that time they attempted to spread their empire into Europe by conquering Greece. Although they were unsuccessful, they killed many Greek soldiers which created a hatred in the Greeks for Persia. It was only a matter of time until someone would arise, organize the Greek forces, and come against the Persian Empire. That person was Alexander the Great, who with a small army overthrew the Persian Empire in only a few years. Alexander spread Greek culture and religion from Europe to India, and from Persia to North Africa. Daniel’s picture of a goat moving with tremendous speed is certainly fitting.

At the height of his power, Alexander grew ill and died. Instead of appointing a successor to his newly formed empire, he simply left it to the strongest. His four generals all considered themselves be the strongest, and the empire was divided into four parts. Two of these play an important role as it relates to Israel, for they would constantly vie with one another for power and territory. In the second century BC, the territory of Syria, controlled by one of the successors of Daniel’s generals, came against Israel in an attempt to destroy the people of God and their religion. This man, known historically as Antiochus Epiphanies, made it his aim to wipe out the Jewish people and their religion. It was through the exploits of Judas Maccabaeus, and the intervention of Rome, that he was stopped in his tracks.

If we overlay the book of Daniel atop the events of history, we must conclude, the book is nothing short of the Word of God because of the detailed accuracy in which it foretold the future. Much of Daniel, however, still remains unfulfilled. He describes a time when Christ will return to set up His kingdom, which will have no end. We can be sure this event will unfold with the same accuracy. Are you ready?

Pastor Jim

 

Are You Ready? 

Daniel 7:1
“In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel had a dream and visions of his head while on his bed. Then he wrote down the dream, telling the main facts.”

In Chapters 7 & 8, Daniel sees two visions that reveal the future. The events recorded will explain the rise and fall of earthly kingdoms, and will take him all the way to the time when Christ returns to defeat the enemy, and set up His kingdom. Among other things, it strikes me that these events were recorded during the reign of king Belshazzar, who reigned when the nation was defeated. God not only wrote out the script for the future of mankind, but He also warned the king of what was ahead. Belshazzar could have been prepared for what was coming by simply reading the pages of Daniel 7 & 8.

Prophecy is designed not only to reveal the future, but also to prepare us for what is coming. The Bible declares that Jesus will one day return like a thief in the night, but we do not need to be caught unaware (1 Thessalonians 5:1-4). We can be prepared for what the future brings by being familiar with the pages of Scripture.

This principle is true as it relates to prophecy, but also as it relates to life. When trials come upon us, we usually find ourselves completely incapable of facing them. While the Bible might not reveal what specific difficulty is on your horizon, it will prepare you to face whatever challenges may arise.

Spending time with Christ daily, in the pages of Scripture, will build you up spiritually and get you ready for whatever life might throw at you. Too often, we neglect the Word of God until we find ourselves face to face with difficulties too big to handle. Don’t end up like Belshazzar who ignored the Word of God until it was too late.

Pastor Jim

 

Wedding Day 

Revelation 19:1
“After these things I heard a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, ‘Alleluia!’”

Revelation 19:3
“Again they said, ‘Alleluia!’”

Revelation 19:4
“And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who sat on the throne, saying, ‘Amen! Alleluia!’”

Revelation 19:5
“Then a voice came from the throne, saying, ‘Praise our God,’

Revelation 19:6
“Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns!”

Revelation 19:7
“Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come,. . .”

In Revelation 19, the scene in heaven is one of exuberant praise. We read of a great multitude joining in worship, and giving glory to the Lord. While there are many reasons to worship God, their praise stems from the fact that the marriage supper of the Lamb has come. To help us understand the relationship we have with God, the Bible uses a number of illustrations. We are referred to as the ‘children of God’, the ‘body of Christ’, the ‘church’, or ‘assembly of those who have been called out of the world’. Perhaps the most intimate of all is when the Bible refers to the Christian as “the bride of Christ.” Paul wrote to the Corinthians,

“For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 11:2

In ancient Jewish culture, the greatest of all celebrations was the wedding feast. The same is often true today. Being a pastor, I have an interesting perspective at weddings. As the congregation turns to watch the bride enter the room, I usually turn and look at the face of the groom. It is amazing to see his face the moment he sees her, and watch him fill with joy. There are times when the joy becomes so great, tears fill his eyes. In those times, I cannot help but think of the joy in the face of Jesus, when He is finally reunited with His bride; and we will forever be with the Lord.

In ancient times, when a man and woman committed to marry one another, they would be betrothed. Betrothal, unlike engagement, involved being legal bound. It was not something that was cast aside on a whim, but would require a legal document in order to bring it to an end. When you received Christ, you were betrothed to Him. While the wedding day and it’s celebration remain in our future, we are bound to Him by love. He is in heaven, anticipating the day when we will be united with Him. We should live on earth with that same anticipation.

Pastor Jim