He Is Risen!

The pictures of the empty tomb are symbolic and meaningful to those of us who believe that the prophecies were fulfilled. However, it stands to reason that if the tomb was still occupied that those who lived in Jerusalem at the time would have stated so, don’t you think? The empty tomb was confirmed in the gospel accounts and in the numerous epistles. But do not forget the non-Christian accounts of Tacitus, Flavious Josephus, and many others.

There are many who do not believe these accounts of the Christians because they would be biased. Let’s get something straight…everyone has some form or another of bias, but that does not make them untrustworthy or liars! Some tend to believe that extraordinary accounts require extraordinary proofs. However, I find this to be untrue as well. If we must present extraordinary proofs for extraordinary feats, do you realize that much of our history of America (let alone the world) would vanish! The military campaigns of Alexander the Great, or Napoleon Bonaparte, or even George Washington. Caesar Augustus barely makes the cut to stay in the history of the world.

All the Sanhedrin needed to do was to produce the bones, or body, of Jesus…which they could not because he was RISEN! Just as it was foretold by the prophets. Many, if not all of the challenges, against to Risen Lord, Jesus, have been dispelled in one form or manner.

Consider this my friends: If God exists, then miracles can happen. If God exists, then it is possible that Jesus was His Son in the flesh. If God exists, then the resurrection was possible. If God exists, then Jesus’ appearance to many and His ascension was also possible. If God exists and Jesus was “…His one and only Son…”, then aren’t Jesus’ words a guide to us for our lives????? Think about that for a moment, or two…

Are you willing to believe? Are you willing to research it and take a chance that it may be true! And if it is true, that means the promises of hope and salvation are true for YOU!

empty tomb3

God Bless, Godspeed, & Happy Easter to you all!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD

You’re Invited!

invited

I saw this video and found it rather funny, but at the same time it was so true to the heart of the matter! We often, as Christians do not speak religion or the Cross of Christ to our neighbors or friends as we should. Even if you are inspired to inquire because of this, that is just enough to get your foot in the door.

If unable to see the video: https://www.facebook.com/fbccabool/videos/1031601790235975/?pnref=story

I am inviting all of you to my church for Easter Services. Because of my schedule, I will not be able to make it until Sunday’s Service. I go to the Venue at Calvary Christian Church, but there are several locations. I post this early because I want you to have the choice of any of the services at Calvary.

I, like the Apostle Paul, wish everyone believed as I believe. I believe you should be warned of an oncoming car, impending danger, or eternal judgement. Just consider a visit to celebrate Easter at Calvary Christian Church, if you are in the Bellevue or Papillion areas in Nebraska.

I hope to see you there!

God Bless & Godspeed!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD

Gideon the Reluctant Warrior

gideon reluctantwarrior

Judges 6-8

I honestly believe the title is rather misleading. While written in 1 John 4:1 by the Apostle John, “do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world,” there must be something similar in the Old Testament. After all, the Watchman’s Duty is listed in Ezekiel 33:10-11 and there are an abundant of accounts to which the major and minor Prophets did request of God to prove that He was who He said He was, namely God. Is that testing God in a manner in which He is being blasphemed? No, I do not believe so, Jesus warned us during His trials in the desert and retorted the evil spirit with, “Do not put the Lord your God to the test…” (Deuteronomy 6:16). Putting God to the Test would be as King Herod did by hoping that Jesus would perform a miracle. (Luke 23:8) It is my firm belief that we are to vigilantly test every spirit that taunts us to do something that potentially, or blatantly, contradicts the word of God.

Now this was a time when Israel had no kings, the only king would have been God, Himself. Man would have been guided by the words of the Torah, or our Old Testament, and the priest or prophet. Unfortunately, man over the course of time waters things down and people lose their way. Man has consistently, throughout history, lost sight of his purpose and goal in life, lost sight of God and who he is accountable to. Man has this inherent problem of returning to his basic nature of sin and evil and personal & immediate pleasure.

gideon-angel-of-the-lordWhen the angel of the Lord spoke to Gideon, he told him, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.” (Judges 6:12) This should be an indicator that God is with and behind us in a task He is assigning us! However, God has this tendency of using the least and the weakest of us to do some of His greatest work. None of us is confident in our own abilities when it comes to us being chosen to do a great task for God’s glory. Furthermore, we tend to forget that God doesn’t rely on our abilities. Man always thinks this strengths are the reason he was chosen, but quite the contrary. Paul reminded us it was through our weaknesses that we serve Him best where God told the Apostle Paul, My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

Pausing for a moment to apologize to you in advance for using the New Testament to aid in the explaining of the Old Testament, but with all due respect, it is my true belief that Jesus much more deeply clarified what was intended by God, the Law, as well as the commandments and the prophets. Hence, in my humble opinion, one cannot truly be understood without the other. Furthermore, regardless of your religious denomination, you must maintain an understanding of the Old Testament and the New Testament together, because all of the prophecies within the Old Testament have not been fulfilled; plus the Old Testament gives us a historical account that enables us to properly understand the New Testament. This, in my humble opinion, is one of the greatest fails within the Christian community!

The Lord turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?” “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.” The Lord answered, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites, leaving none alive.”~Judges 6:14-16 NIV

Again, as mentioned previously, Gideon acknowledged his weakness and the weakness, or position, of his tribe of Manasseh. But God doesn’t care, as He will use that weakness as a strength to be overlooked by the enemy. As promised to so many throughout the biblical text that God will be with us in those battles that we fight for Him, and in those cases God will go in and fight the battle before we were ever born. Consider David and Goliath, Moses and Pharaoh, Samson and the Philistines, etc. We were promised many things with respect to God and doing battle for Him:

But be assured today that the Lord your God is the one who goes across ahead of you like a devouring fire. He will destroy them; he will subdue them before you. And you will drive them out and annihilate them quickly, as the Lord has promised you. ~Deuteronomy 9:3

David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. ~1 Samuel 17:45

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. ~Joshua 1:9

Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. ~Matthew 10:28

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? ~Romans 8:31

While the reference to 1 Samuel 17:45 is not, in and of itself, a promise, per se, but rather a state of mind that we should possess as warriors, apostles, ambassadors, representatives, or children for God. Again, you and I do not see ourselves as apostles, let alone representatives, for God, but God will use us as weak, broken and shattered as we may be. We should have a very distinct and strong resolve to do and perform all of God’s will. Unfortunately, over the years we became lazy and less than adequate carriers of God’s message. Some over the course of time have lost our faith, and are now regaining and relearning a great deal. Some of us just took a hiatus, of sorts. Our strength is directly connected to our faith; our faith is directly connected to our belief in the reliability of the Bible; and our belief and reliability are based upon the historicity of the biblical accounts. There is a logical format to all of this, our belief is based upon sound reason and logic. Another problem that I have noticed, through reading and casual observation, is man’s hypocrisy with respect to God’s word, Jesus spoke these words:

…you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you: “‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules. ~Matthew 15:6-9

As a funny side note: We can liken the tasks given to us by God to those chores and tasks choresgiven to us by our parents or spouses. Think about it, for a moment. These are things placed upon us by another, it – in reality – is not at the top of our priorities list; but must get done regardless. And yes, it can be as simple as that! What is the first thing that comes to your mind when your spouse wants you to do something? Well, what are you doing right now? What have you been doing all this time while you were planing to delegate this to me? And the list can go on and on… What about when God does it? Many of us have lost our fear and reverence to God, His presence, and His power…sometimes I think, “Well, you’re all powerful…why don’t you do it?” Or chores-1something to that effect, but does God really NEED us to do anything? NO! However, as a sign of obedience we must be willing to do these tasks some simple and some menial, and others very difficult and perhaps dangerous. We, as man, truly NEED to regain our fear and reverence for God! This is the one solid factor in morals and ethics, God! “For if there is no God, all things are permitted.” (Fydor Dostoevsky) Just think on that for a moment or two, and then ponder on the direction of this country and this world…it is aiming toward a sad, sad future!

But let us get back to Gideon…

So Gideon took ten of his servants and did as the Lord told him.” (Judges 6:27) Now, what do gideon-baal altaryou think would have happened to someone today for tearing down an altar to a false god? Dependent upon the judge either jail or mental check up for 72 hours then jail. I must admit that I loved how Joash, Gideon’s father, handled the crowd by saying to them, Are you going to plead Baal’s cause? Are you trying to save him? Whoever fights for him shall be put to death by morning! If Baal really is a god, he can defend himself when someone breaks down his altar.” (Judges 6:31) I have always been of the mind that those who desire to do violence because someone violated God’s law or commandment, that they should leave it to God. Not because we were told by Jesus, Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Matthew 7:1-2) But we also have been warned, ‘Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the great, but judge your neighbor fairly.” (Leviticus 19:15) Man, seemingly, desires to handle God’s matters in his own way. However, if you think on it, are we not cutting God out of His judgement of the very men who do wrong? Leave the matters of God to God. Although, we have an obligation to aid our fellow man in times of need for purposes of protection and for compassionate reasons. Even Abraham sought justice for the righteous in Sodom by speaking boldly to the Angels of God, “Far be it from you to do such a thing—to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?” (Genesis 18:25)

Gideon asked God in Judges 6 verses 36-40, “If you will save Israel by my hand as you have promised—” He was testing the Spirit, which is not doubt but rather ensuring that He was following the One True God, as we should all do. He tested and then followed the command(s) of the Lord. All too often, we do not test the Spirit, but rather we test God by making an outlandish request to make me rich, or give me some tickets to a cruise, etc. Unfortunately, that doesn’t work; otherwise, we would all be rich and headed to our vacation resort of choice for free.

You will also notice in the beginning of Judges 7 that God implicitly told Gideon that he didn’t need such great numbers to save Israel from the Midianites. As I mentioned earlier that God works through our weaknesses. To attack a large force with such small numbers (300 men) would be miraculous or suicidal, you decide. However, with God on your side, you can do anything especially if you have the faith and believe! And if God says, Get up! The Lord has given the Midianite camp into your hands,” (Judges 7:15); then, will you believe it or continue to ask questions?

Judges 8 continues on with the triumphs and trials of Gideon, by God’s grace. Instead of being grateful to Gideon and his generalship in this military campaign, the Ephraimites attempted to pick a petty argument. Considering that Manasseh and Ephraim were brothers. Neither could allow the other to eclipse the honor of the other.

Manasseh will feed on Ephraim, and Ephraim on Manasseh; together they will turn against Judah.  Yet for all this, his anger is not turned away, his hand is still upraised.” ~Isaiah 9:21

Despite the vigorous challenge by the Ephraimites and their bravado against he who God had chosen for the campaign’s leadership, Gideon was quite humble and peaceable. He was able to diffuse the situation by reminding them that it was they who accomplished one of the major objectives in this campaign, which was enough to placate the situation and garner peace among them. The Ephraimites did, in-fact, “seized the waters of the Jordan as far as Beth Barah…captured two of the Midianite leaders, Oreb and Zeeb.” (Judges 7:24-25) But the campaign continued for Gideon…

Gideon_and_his_three_hundred_menBecause it was God’s promise and His command to I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites, leaving none alive.” (Judges 6:16) We must have such a passion in our hearts after knowing that it was the Lord who commanded us to do something. This should create such a high confidence in what we do…not fanaticism or some radicalization, but passion and desire for God’s honor & glory. People just don’t seem to care that others are protecting them, because “someone else can take care of that“…it seems I’ve heard that before. So, those people don’t feel as though they should have to contribute…to not contribute and aid your brothers can meet with disastrous consequences for you, my friends. Consider how you tread in respect to helping your brothers and sisters.

And Gideon finally gets to the end of his task, placed upon him by the Angel of the Lord, and corners captures and kills Zebba & Zalmunna as dictated and commanded. Not one was left alive.

The mark of a true leader is one who does not desire the task, and two knows the even though he may be the leader…he is not the one in command! The Israelites said to Gideon, “Rule over us—you, your son and your grandson—because you have saved us from the hand of Midian.” (Judges 8:22) But Gideon knew better by saying to the Israelites, I will not rule over you, nor will my son rule over you. The Lord will rule over you. (Judges 8:23) This becomes the prideful downfall of men, believing themselves to be rulers over men, but it is truly God who rules us. Of course, if you place your pride off to the side and choose to follow the One True God! If you read through the historical accounts of man, we did not have kings over us, but God alone, then man asked for a king to lead them (1 Samuel 8), but it was man rejecting God not Samuel. Man has been rejecting God from the beginning of time after man’s fall from grace in the Garden of Eden.

We, as man, need to restore the need for God in our lives and the lives of all mankind. For it is only through God that we can truly have a foundation of morals and ethics. Hence, there can be no basis of morals, ethics, fairness, or justice without a relationship with God. And you cannot just follow, Willie-nilly, what you have been told to do without testing the Spirit.

It is my hope and my prayer that this was both enlightening and helpful to you!

May God Richly Bless You!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD

Man is Much Like a Car

man-like-a-car1

It seems like the title is a bit odd, but humor me for a little bit. I was driving my truck to get some repairs done to it. After all, it has 151,000 miles on it and it is 16 years old right now. I keep praying for God to open my eyes to the opportunities around me, in order to allow me to accomplish His will. And I got this feeling to look around and I began to think on certain problems with the truck. The more I thought on the subject, the more I saw that man was very much like a car. You might be asking or thinking, “What the heck are you talking about? Have you gone loony tunes on me???” Bear with me…

  • If you take care of your body, it will take care of you. The same goes for your car.
  • If you get sick or ill, go to the doctor’s office. If your car is broke, take it to a mechanic.
  • If you blow a head gasket, get to a surgeon or to a Psychiatrist. If your car blows a head gasket…just go to a mechanic. No auto Psychiatrists…at least I don’t think so, but haven’t checked California lately!? lol

I think you get my gist. I have blown my gasket several times over the years, but still trust in God to get me to the right place. It is truly odd that I know, intellectually, that I need to learn to laugh at myself and to all the boneheaded things I do. Unfortunately, that does not always translate to it actually happening. I haven’t quite figured it out yet, but I am still a work in progress.

Some people can ask for help, others just seek to figure it out on their own, but when problems get really bad other people will make those decisions for you, like it or not! Just man-like-a-car2

consider the photo where people are working on the car together. Sometimes that is a great idea because “IF” everyone is a mechanic, or very mechanically inclined, you can accomplish the Master Mind principle as annotated in Napoleon Hill’s classic, THINK AND GROW RICH. This is where several minds get together for one purpose and create another mind, which is the culmination of all the minds that are present. Unfortunately, there are more times where the numerous minds are not altogether there for the same reason or purpose, which will throw a monkey wrench into the works…your 2 hours of work became a 10 hour nightmare! Been there, done that! After all, that kind of goes without saying since my name is Murphy! You don’t get it? Here is a hint:

murphys law

Do I live and breath this law, NO! But it does give me bragging rights and my entire ancestry to blame things on when things do go awry…so, that is a positive outlook, isn’t it?? lol

The point behind, most of this rambling dialogue, all this is that God is always there. Even when you think He is not. You can always talk to Him, you can always seek out what His word says. There might be nothing in there telling you how to diagnose or repair a blown head gasket, but you can determine enough to find the right people to obtain a solution to the present problem…through reason, prayer, and thoughtfulness.

Jesus is always there to hear our pleas for our cleansing that we may be whole again. Just consider the healing of the leprous man in Matthew 8:2-4. It is a gift for the asking, just like asking for a bowl of ice cream from mom, or a dollar from dad to go to the candy store. Our biggest problem is that we just don’t ask. Whether we are too scared to ask, or we just don’t know how to ask. The bible is filled with examples of what to ask for and how to ask, we just need to learn and apply these methods. That was but one purpose Jesus came to live among us all…to aid us in our life on earth and to be an example of how we should live that we may be worthy for a life in heaven with He and the Father.

We also must beware of the fact that there is a great cost to follow the Lord Jesus. This was reiterated to the disciples, also in Matthew 8, in verses 18-22. While we must be willing to give up all things to follow Him, we are not all necessarily to do so. The problem we have (YES, I do include me!) is that we are so stuck on the things of this world. I recognize the fact that we must live in this world, even Jesus recognized this fact in Matthew 10. But though we live in this world we must not conform to the ways of this world…for example just consider all the rhetorical nonsense with respect to the present campaigning tactics. They are the same negativistic and divisive tactics as every other campaign race going on in the past. I understand that we need a release from our daily labors: cable or satellite tv, movie night, sports, etc. the list goes on and on. But at some point we begin to place those items and things ahead of God and our purpose. Do we really need that 300XL Mercedes Benz with a rag top, or could we do just as well with a KIA Soul? Are we seeking a status symbol to show we are wealthy and important? I have seen many, as even myself, where people lived beyond their means. Instead of learning from the fact that life style does not work they filed for bankruptcy and started the cycle all over again. I saw things another way and have worked at getting us out of the debt we created. There are still a number of things that can be removed from my life, but it tends to be a slow process…without ever realizing you are doing it. It becomes much clearer when you look at it on paper…or even a blog post, like this one! (Now I am not trying to create a commercial moment here, but Dave Ramsey has a great program under Financial Peace University, you might check it out if interested in cleaning up your financial life. I found it to be very informative and very compelling and very interesting.)

We are better off than many other people around us, but because we focus so much so on our own needs and wants we never notice such a thing…as we are always in need or want of something more than what we have. However, are we really better off than others around us? If so, how much so?Have we really made all of the necessary changes in our lives to stave off all those problems that happen to everyone else??

homeless2  Homeless1.jpg  homeless

So, what do you see when you see the homeless and jobless on the side of the road and lining the streets? Do you see someone down on their luck? Someone who mad bad choices? Most of us do see these things in others, but I remember years ago someone on the side of the road who had his sign, “WILL WORK FOR FOOD,” and when prompted to do some actual work…he retorted, “Another man is coming back..?” So, he really didn’t want to work for food, eh? Because if the man was to actually stop by he would either pick him up, throw money at him, but I highly doubt they would have told him they would be back to get him. When you see an opportunity you would spring into action. Unfortunately, most people see this when they see the homeless people:

litterSo many people will just see them as throw away people and useless people of society. Do you realize that Austin “Og” Mandino was a street person, of sorts, in the mid 1930 due to the great depression. He would go into the Library in order to stay warm and fed his mind. He later went to college, worked at a newspaper, enter the Army, became the editor of Success Magazine, and became a celebrated author. (If you ever get a chance to, pick up one of his books. Highly suggested is “THE GREATEST SALESMAN IN THE WORLD.”) People so easily give up the fight in life, I’ve seen it time and again. That does not mean they are useless, but they are broken in both heart and spirit. Funny thing is that God uses the broken in heart and spirit to do great things. YOU may be that person that helps to bolster someone’s heart or spirit in the course of your day. But in the course of their day, you could be seen as a miracle worker, of sorts! Are you feeling bold enough to touch the very soul of another?

The more I have thought about this post, in some aspects I get the very impression that God was speaking to me.  You must keep in mind, that all throughout the bible we are told in various ways that:

“All have turned away, all have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one.” ~Psalm 14:3

““Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone.””     ~Luke 18:19

No not even pastors, priests, deacons, nor even the lowliest man on the face of the earth…we are all the same and possess the same attributes of the nature of man, which is the nature of sin! No one is protected from such a thing, except through constant, vigilant prayer, much power and help from God. But that along with fasting only gives you the tools to do better in our lives, but it does not wipe away our nature of sin. God alone through the aid of the seal of the Holy Spirit and in Jesus’ mighty name can we break such bonds that bind us to such a nature of sin. We must spend more time studying the bible, understanding the bible, remembering it contextually (in my opinion), verse studies and memory, etc. Because we are man, we inherently possess the inherent problems of man, in that, we have the nature and capacity to sin. Remember these words – ONLY GOD IS GOOD! I have had neighbors says something to the affect that, “you are a good man.” My response is usually, “no, not really.” Because I have come to the realization of how bad man can be, especially when they believe they are doing the will of their god, or believe God told them to do it! This day and age, in my humble opinion, is the worst and is getting far worse as time continues on. Just hearing the horror stories out of Europe and the previous Communist Block countries with their influx of Muslim migrants, who instead of attempting to assimilate into their new culture and surroundings…they bring the same mentality with them and attempt to force their minority views on to the majority of the population that already exist there. (But now we are going beyond the prime objective of this blog post, but I do believe you get the point.)

It comes right back to the crux of EVERY problem inherent in man, to push God out of your society, out of your family, community, or more importantly your heart…you open up a vacuum for evil to grow and fester; thus enabling it to eventually take over everything to where we will, as the world, will be in the same position that Sodom was in that caused its destruction. I recently saw a meme that said, essentially: “I don’t have to be a Christian to be a good person.” Me being who I am I responded, “But how do you determine your morals, ethics and your goodness (without some form of standard)?” Which is true, if there is no standard in order to base your beliefs upon, how can you as a person determine THAT standard as a standard? I received only two replies: 1) from a friend “consciousness” and my reply was that this was too ambiguous as well as relative to the person; and 2) “just be a good person” and again my response was similar to the first response with the addition that even the felons, murderers, pedophiles and rapists see themselves as good people, who are you to contest their assertion or disagree with them?

We as Christians have a handbook or guidebook to our lives according to which we can model our lives after; however, many of us stray wildly from that mark that we set ourselves to attain. But it is a standard, and we have a powerful and forgiving God who sent His one and only Son to be sacrificed for our sins that we should not have to make any further sacrifices other than dedicating our lives to Him by our free will choice!

The great thing is that we can change how we act, how we treat people, how we show our love for God and praise Him, how we portray His love in our lives to others around us. Our God is a great and powerful God who can do vast and mighty things through us, if we let Him do so and if we willingly participate (refer to Book of Jonah post.)

Recently, I found out a relative and another friend was diagnosed with cancer. Both of these were diagnosed with breast cancer. Cancer, like a mysterious and elusive problem in your car, can either be cured and you become one of the elite, the survivor class. Or you are not so lucky. Cancer is also like many of our weaknesses, we either get a grip and change what is happening, or we do not and give in to that particular weakness, or perhaps all of our weaknesses and let them take their toll on us. Permitting us to wallow in our weaknesses and succumb to them and our inevitable demise. However, for the most part it is a matter of your free will choice (in most cases). Cancer really is neither good nor evil, in and of itself, it just is. I does precisely what it is designed to do, which is to grow and kill off living tissue; similarly to gangrene.

Life’s turmoil, troubles, trials, tumult cannot be avoided in all instances. But we can take them in stride with confidence, knowing that God has already fought the battle for us. Though, he may not deliver us from the clutches of death, but our souls can be held in-tact thus enabling us to, one day, be reunited with our immortal bodies at the resurrection…otherwise, we will be united to eternal damnation. It is all a matter of choice, in the end! Which choice are you willing to make? Just supposing, for a moment, that God is real and that He will judge us in the end…what path would you choose?? What life-style will you choose?? What future will you choose??

Choice is both a blessing and a curse for all of us. We can choose one path that will most likely be fun, exciting, and thrilling, but will lead us to hell fire, damnation and an eternal separation from God. On the other hand, we can choose the other path that is hard, no promise of fun, no promise of a thrill, and a high probability of pain, chastisement, being an outcast, and quite literally being labeled a fanatical bible thumping lunatic. What is your choice now?? Sounds real appealing, doesn’t it?

I have read it in the book: HANDBOOK OF CHRISTIAN APOLOGETICS by Peter Kreeft & Ronald K. Tacelli, however, I have slightly paraphrased it as I’ve found it’s essence to be so profound:

Man is like a sword. It is to be tempered by fire, by trials, and by tribulation to test it’s strength and battle worthiness.

Just consider that, for but one moment during one of your head gasket blowing moments. Those moments are the fires, the trials and the tribulations that are testing us for our battle worthiness. Think on that, my friends.

May God Richly Bless You!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD

 

The Book of Jonah Can Teach Us Many Things!

jonah1

The Book of Jonah is a very telling book on God and the fickleness of man. While man knows how forgiving God is, he immediately judges other men more harshly (hypocritically so) and believes that these men deserve what they will get…but they believe themselves to be good. hmmmmmmmmmm…really? We have all had such times and thoughts as such, I know I have. But God has been working on me for quite some time now. God is reminding us that we each have a purpose and a mission…to glorify God! And that is in all we do, which includes answering His call for us to act on His behalf to do certain things.

jonah2

But the Book of Jonah is so much more. We have a purpose to fulfill and a task to jonah5complete. A calling to accept. But all too often we are sitting and thinking of, “What is my purpose? What is my calling in life?” Guess what? You actually have to get moving at times to figure out the answer to some of those questions! Some say that Emotion is created by Motion! How true those words can be! We cannot think about it all of the time, but we must act upon that feeling we have. We must seek out those people to align ourselves with in order to accomplish the goal that God has for us…it is a team sport, you know? I, myself, am constantly overthinking certain matters, as well as wondering where all my passion and desire is, for the task I see to be mine?? It is as if there is nothing there to bolster , strengthen, and embolden me to stand up and shout out to all concerned, “HERE I AM!” But it does not always work that way, does it? If you are anything like me…NOPE!

First is the telling Jonah of his task, or purpose. Like Jonah, we are each created for a purpose primarily to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Deuteronomy 6:5, Matthew 22:37, Mark 12:30, Luke 10:27); and to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Leviticus 19:18, Matthew 22:39, Mark 12:31). Our purpose is different, in that, each of us can love the Lord in differing ways, but it is truly something that we each must engage our time in order to determine through prayer, research, etc.Our personal plans and our purpose are quite different, but should be complementary to one another. Our plans should stem from our purpose of loving and pleasing God, our plans would be the actions we take to do so.

Second is Jonah’s running away from his purpose, by use of his free will of choice. We each have a tendency to be filled with fear or scared when confronted with doing something that you feel inadequate to accomplish. Consider Moses, he felt himself quite inadequate for the task of setting the Israelites free from the tight grip of the Egyptian Pharaoh.

Third is Jonah being found out as the source of the troubles for others, because he ran away from his purpose. There are consequences for you as well as others when you run away from the purpose God has for you. Others, in many instances are there to guide you back to the path you left or to place you on another path for you to learn something.

Fourth, we have the big fish where Jonah can rethink his actions. The big fish swallowing Jonah was the separating him from his fellow man, but more importantly to separate him from God. To run from your purpose is sinful and as written in Isaiah 59:2 where your sins or iniquities separate you from God.

Fifth is where Jonah has decided that he was wrong in his knee-jerk reaction over God’s purpose for him. Do not misunderstand me, we each have been blessed with the gift of free will, but we often can make the wrong decisions. However, IF your resolve is such that you refuse to fulfill your obligations for your purpose and choose the path to run away, God will try to guide you back to that path. Although, you can still choose to not accomplish the obligation(s) of your purpose. Will God continue, yes He will because He love each of us! An like any father (or at least most normal fathers) He wants what is best for you.

Sixth is the fulfillment of his obligation and his anger over God’s ever present forgiveness to those who truly repent. God is very forgiving, how much has He forgiven either you or I?? Why would you get mad at God for living according to His nature? He wants all of us to enter into His Kingdom, but we have that inherently sinful nature from our youth (Genesis 8:21) and have that tendency to do our own thing…which happens to be the opposite of God’s way. But we can change, if we choose and seek to. There is the old adage: “The first and greatest victory is to conquer yourself; to be conquered by yourself is of all things most shameful and vile.” ~Plato Even this ideology’s sub-text is within the context of the bible by becoming subservient to God’s will by choosing God’s will and way for your life, but this is your loving, reasonable, choice based upon knowledge, research, and prayer.

Seventh is where Jonah bemoans the destruction of the vine which protects him from the sun and wind. We have all done it, complained about something that didn’t go our way and yet, we didn’t work for it or do anything to attain it! Think about it! The Powerball or the MegaMillions tickets you bought. Face it, you didn’t win because…why? Your fault? God’s Fault? Or was it just a 1 in a 192,000,000 chance that you could have attained that big retirement win? As I have heard, you have a greater chance to be struck by lightening! (ANSWER: 1 in a 280,000 chance to be struck.)

jonah3

And the eighth and the final lesson is where God reminds Jonah that He gives second chances to everyone, because he loves all of us and because we are all His works of art (so-to-say); we are all of His children and He is our Father, consider:

I said, ‘You are “gods”; you are all sons of the Most High.’ But you will die like mere mortals; you will fall like every other ruler.”~Psalm 82:6-7 NIV

God knows our hearts and minds, His Spirit ministers to our Spirit, He truly knows if we are truly repentant and are really desirous to change our ways in order to glorify Him.

The bible is full of second chances, and thank God for that. Because each of us tends to go back to our nature of sin, daily…we definitely need those second chances! God will give them to us up until we draw our final breath of life! If you don’t believe me, consider the thief on the cross (right next to Jesus) where Jesus made a promise to him:

“Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” ~Luke 23:43

Jonah4

Does God want us to be independently wealthy and rich? Well, if you think on it hard enough you will be able to see you are wealthy and rich. You are alive, you have the breath of life. If you live in these United States then YOU own the highways, YOU can enter into any library and read a book about or on any subject for free…because YOU own them! But what God truly wants for us, in my humble opinion, is to be full and wealthy in spirit and faith! But that is a decision each of us must make each and every day!

“You are what you think about all day long.”
~Dr. Robert Schuller

I will leave you with the next two memes on thought. It is my deepest prayer that you  will restructure your thinking and restructure your lives for God’s glory! It is never an easy road to follow, but it is the right road to follow, in my opinion which is based upon reason, research, and faith!

May God Richly Bless You All!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD

2nd chances 1   2nd chances