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Thursday, March 30, 2017

Only one thing is needed

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“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 4but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:41-42

** Digression from many to few, then to one

The digression here is one being worried and upset about "many" things, then the Lord presenting the solution by literally reducing the number from many to few then even to one thing that is needed.

** Want vs. need

The 'many' concerns what Martha 'wanted', whereas according to the passage, the 'few' or even the 'one' has to do with what is 'needed'. What you want embrace 'many', but what in fact is 'needed' could be 'small' in number.

This seems to be and indeed is the way the Lord designed the way of life. After all isn't it the Lord who said this the author of life?

** Worry and upset vs. peace and joy (of life)

What is at stake is the quality of life, for when one is worried and upset one ends up hurting not only his life but that of his neighbor. Medical doctors also say that worry causes stress, stress causes distress, distress causes sickness, and so on.

** Plenty vs. all

The episode involving Martha and Mary reminds me of the Jacob's struggle at the Jabbok River. As he was about to meet Esau he became worried. He was so stressed out, that he literally did somersault all night all by himself.

But by the time he met Esau the next day his mental condition changed like night and day, so he said, "seeing your face is like seeing the face of God". Genesis 33:10 He said this presenting a huge amount of gifts to Esau who in turn said, "Oh, no, no. I already have plenty, Please take these back for you/your children." But Jacob insisted on receiving by saying, "I have all I need. Please take the gifts." Then Esau accepted. One Rabbi (I forgot his name) brought to highlight the difference between 'plenty' vs. 'all'. Esau said "I have plenty' whereas Jacob said "I have all I need." 33:11 Later the Apostle Paul also said the same thing in talking to the Philippians. Phil. 4. There in fact he even said, "I have all I need and 'more'."

What is the difference between all and plenty? Plenty screams out one being in the state of being in want, whereas all refers to the fullness (of life), lacking nothing.

Question becomes: "What is responsible for the change to Jacob?" We know the answer: during the night he spent at the Jabbok River, he had a wrestling match (or the angel of the Lord or simply the Lord spent time with Jacob, so Jacob would meet and have the Lord with him. Interestingly Jacob's encounter with the Lord came after he had finished moving to the other side of the river 'all' he had (accumulated so far at Paddan Aram) - his four wives, children, servants, possessions like donkeys, camels, everything. Many were on the other side of the river, only one left.

** What is needed?

This leaves the question: "what is indeed needed?" Mary saw it and secured it: being seated at the Lord's feet and listening to him.

Recall then the episode in the Garden of Eden, where the devil tempted Eve, so that Eve ended up going for what she wanted, that is, eating from the tree of the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil, and thereby losing access to the tree of life! She along with her husband was cut off from the source of life, that one thing that is needed.

** The Battle

Therefore there is a battle even a war going on. Just as Martha her close sister attacked Mary (by even praying to the Lord) only to steal away from Mary what she needs for life! In the same way in such a subtle way the serpent embodying the devil tempted Eve to fall. Likewise, when Jesus came the devil, the good old serpent, came to Jesus while Jesus in the desert, and tempted Jesus to go for many, rather then for that one thing that is needed:

Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”Jesus said to him,

But Jesus rejected him saying: “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'"

** Applications in this information age

I got rid of the 'cable' TV long time ago. But still I keep "so many" apps on my smartphone. Are they all 'needed'? Plus, I am tempted to check all different sources of news like CNN, CMbrowser, Omni, Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, and so on. Do I need to do this all the time? In addition, I am obsessed with garage 'sale', and just as it is impossible for a bird to pass by farm barn, so also it is hard for me to ignore the 'huge estate sale' being advertised at the Shingletown this coming Saturday! It is said, 'One man's trash is another man's treasure'. But do you need all or any of them?

Friday, March 24, 2017

What is church?

* Definition: Church is an embodiment (or manifestation) (primarily among people both in heaven and on earth) of who Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is, what he did and is doing, and going to do till the end (Daniel 7:28) arrives.

Note: the word church appears 79 times in 77 vs. in NT.
[Matthew uses 2 times, Luke 18, James 1, Peter 0, John 9, the rest Paul.]

While on earth in a physical body, as the time for Jesus to go back to heaven approaches, Jesus took his disciples to a remote area, and asked, "Who do you say I am?" Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God." Then Jesus said, "On this (rock) foundation I will build my church."

Then he took Peter, John and James to a high mountain. There the three felt good. Their mind and body rested, and they got into a so called "prophecy mode", a sort of dreamy state, just as Jacob who at night fell asleep and saw the vision of the ladder reaching high (Gen 28). While on this state they saw Jesus transfigured, Moses, Elijah appearing talking to Jesus about Jesus' departure, bringing fulfillment (what had been prophesied) at Jerusalem (that is, his death and resurrection, coming again etc.)

As of that moment Peter had no idea of what church is all about. So he blurted out, "Lord, let us stay here, build a shelter." But later what Peter saw on the mountainside helped him understand the meaning of church. Thanks to Jesus' revelation, the Lord used Peter to make a break-through in Jerusalem, John to primarily manage (such churches as 7 churches in Asia Minor).

* Development via:

- Moses: Moses showed up at the mountain, conversing with Jesus and Elijah, talking about his departure, only to fulfill the prophecy on God's way of salvation.

Moses occupies a special position as a prophet, for unlike other prophets such as Miriam or Isaiah he saw the Lord face to face, speaking to him or listening to him face to face: Moses did not need to get in a so called prophetic mode such as in a vision carried by the Spirit or while in a dream with one's mind and body resting in tranquility.

The Lord talked to Moses to come up with the first five books of the Bible (called Torah). Torah contains among other contents the prophecy on the Son, the author of Prophets/Prophecy, the one who is to save the Lost, restoring them back home. Speaking of Jesus' coming after him, Moses said to his folks (as a farewell message, so to speak before saying 'bye, good luck' to his flock ready to get into the Promised Land), "The Lord will raise a prophet like me; you guys ought to listen to him. Otherwise you are stuck." Deut 18. Examples of the symbols, types, messages, that point to the Savior coming include the ark, instructions on the 7 festivals, etc.

- Elijah: the Prophet Elijah was said to come before the coming of the (first, and arguably second) coming of Jesus Christ, the Lord and Savior. He is a trumpeter, signaling the coming of the king in a royal procession. He also played a role of Jesus' rising, by way of himself rising into heaven riding a fiery horse and chariot.

- Voice from heaven: Listen to Him. Luke 9:28-43 [At that time Peter did not like Jesus going to the way of Calvary.]

- Peter: He worked to break a ground building a church fellowship during the dawn of the Post Jesus era, as seen the number of people added to the church fellowship in the Book of Acts via three speeches. The first speech includes the message stating, "Repent and be baptized all of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of your sins, and receive the gift (Holy Spirit) from God." Acts 2:38. Not so long after persecution arose. Many were confused about the church. Peter had a heart for them, and encouraged them to stand firm in faith so they could grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord. Read I, II Peter.

- John: It is said John had to be cautious for he was given charge of Jesus' mother. Apparently his base was in Ephesus at least during the latter part of his career. His career also included the hard times of persecution during the Roman rule. Yet, since Jesus put in his mind a clear concept of church, he was able to minister for the people undergoing the Roman persecution. Examples of his pastoring include giving them such messages as the three epistles, and the messages to the seven churches in the book of Revelation.

- [The rest of the disciples at the foot of the resurrection mountain]: Tradition says all except for the Apostle John suffered martyrdom preaching the gospel (building church if you will) in different areas of mission. For example, according to Spanish legends, James once preached in Spain, got beheaded in AD 44 in Jerusalem, with his dead body moved back to Santiago for burial (close to Portugal) in Spain, thus even to this day many do the trail/road trip/pilgrimage called Camino de Santiago, some to collect souvenir some to get their life reorganized. Last fall my brother in law along with his wife covered the route extending over 800 kms all on foot. And his wife did it twice, once with her husband, second alone.

- [Later Paul]: He maintains that he saw the Risen Jesus, and got zapped. :-) Since then his life was never the same. In his 14 (arguably 13) epistles (and arguably through his influence on Luke in the book of Acts) it is seen how he worked to build the church (among the Gentiles) in action and in words (or theory if you will.) Note: some bible scholars call (in a loose sense) the book of Ephesians as a church "doctrine".

- Apostles, ministers, pastors, missionaries, evangelists, prophets, teachers, shepherds, theologians, scholars, seat-warmers :-) etc. Epes 4:11; 2Ti 2:20

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Be alert and of sober mind. 1Pe 5:8a

From Bitterness to the life of freedom (12) and complete joy (15)

In today's daily bread (Deut. 16) the Lord commanded the Israelite to celebrate the festivals, celebrating the life that is in the presence of the Lord.

The Lord has seen the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10)

John saw a lamb looking as if it had been slain. Rev 5:6

The Lord knew Adam would fall and came up with the remedy from before the creation.

O, Poor Earthworm Jacob (Isaiah 41:14)

In reading the account of the Lord's creation in Genesis 1,2 a question arises, "Why did God put in the garden the tree of the knowledge of good and evil?"

God did not create the universe and everything in it for his own good; by definition God is all sufficient, so he had no additional need to make him happy by creating something. He created the world only for one reason, that is, for the sake of bestowing upon his creation all that are truly good.. John thus says, "God is love" and love seeks the highest good of the one he choose to love.

Plus, by definition the created being (men and all other creatures) is limited on his own. For survival and thriving it is critical for one to be connected with his creator, which is accomplished through faith and obedience.

Faith and obedience

The Lord did not allow Moses to enter the Promised Land, so the Lord could send a message, that is, faith in the Lord who is holy, is the only key to life to the full. In Numbers 27:14 in rejecting Moses' request to allow him to get in, the Lord bothered to explain the reason for rejection, that is, his failure to honor the name of the Lord as holy before the eyes of people.

The word holy (kadosh in Hebrew) means separate or different from. In what respect is the Lord (his name consisting of four letters) different from all other names? It is only in this respect: He alone is the creator, all the rest creation. Thus he alone is self-sufficient; all the rest are dependent upon him for survival or extinction. All the rest are deficient. We humans are therefore self-deficient; you are sufficient in the fullest sense of the meaning only by way of faith in the Lord fully, the Lord who can get water by speaking to a rock.

According to the Apostle Paul faith produces obedience.

Read manual and follow through it.

Now in regard to obedience consider the following:

Once upon a time (it was in 1983 summer I recall) I bought a 1970 Fiat for $500. The guy who sold the car told me that I needed to change the engine oil. In order to save money, instead of going to a mechanic, I decided to change the oil myself. So I put one quart of engine oil. Then I drove the car everywhere, not knowing that the car needed for quarts of engine oil. Lo and behold. After six months the car broke down. The engine melted down. I did not follow the instruction.

In Proverbs Solomon learned this truth firsthand in regard to the way the Lord created man. You need to follow the Lord's words for the enjoyment of full life, so he said, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction." Proverbs 1:6

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Bible Nigeria

bible academy held at the unilag ubf bible center (photo credit - chicada nodi)