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A Sure Foundation Part III:The Purpose of Life: Philippians 3:7-11

Two Parables About God’s Character: Luke 18:1-14

A Sure Foundation Part 2: God Became Human to Rid the Cosmos of Sin and Evil. Texts: John 17:1-5 & 2 Corinthians 5:14-21

Luke 17:20-37 The Day of the Son, The Days of the Son, and Why Left Behind Needs to be Left Behind

A Sure Foundation: Jesus is GodJohn 1:1-5

Psalm 23

Like many, I have always loved Psalm 23. It is popular for good reason, and I love the poetry of the Elizabethan English.

 

Psalm 23 King James Version (KJV):

 

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

 

I pray Psalm 23 daily, slowly, meditating on it something like this:

 

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

  • The Lord, YHWH, creator of heaven and earth, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, true and living God, Master, King, Abba-Poppa
  • YHWH guides me, directs me, cares for me, protects me, is my shepherd.
  • Therefore, I want for nothing.

 

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

  • I rest in warm, lush, green pastures of grace, basking in God’s love.
  • I drink long and often from deep, pure, cold springs of living water.

 

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

  • God restores, repairs, renovates my sin-damaged soul.
  • God leads me to practice justice on behalf of the oppressed
  • This enhances His reputation

 

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

  • The valley – a place of peacefulness, beauty, flowers, gentle streams, wildlife, long shadows and cool breezes.
  • Death, for the believer, is but a shadow – it cannot hurt us.
  • To have a shadow, there must be light behind it.
  • Death is simply a transition into God’s living light.

 

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

  • The tableland, the plateau of lush vegetation is available. Enemies, demonic forces, surround, but cannot touch or harm me.
  • The oil of the Holy Spirit, God’s anointing for healing and service, rests upon me.
  • Like Joseph whose boughs bore abundant fruit, hanging down outside the garden to provide sustenance for all, so my cup overflows with God’s trinitarian love – an abundance of love for all with whom I have contact.

 

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

  • My life is filled with goodness and mercy.
  • I dwell in God’s house now.
  • I live in fellowship with the living God
  • Nothing will ever separate me from Him.

 

You Meant it for Evil, But God Used it for Good: An Overview of Genesis chapters 37-50 — the life of Joseph

Scandals, Forgiveness, Faith & Gratitude: Luke17:1-19

Almost All of us are Dives. Lazarus is Right Outside the Gate. The parable of Lazarus and the rich man. Luke 16:14-31

Prince of Peace

Surely one of the most enigmatic figures in the Bible is Melchizedek. He comes out of nowhere and returns to oblivion.

You know the story. Abraham, two millennia before the birth of Christ, has no scriptures, no faith community, no teachers, and so knows nothing about God except what God reveals to him through the seven times God speaks or appears to him (recorded in Genesis chapters 12-22).

Abraham is a nomad. Warlords raid his camp. They carry off loot and kidnap family members .

Abraham responds as any ancient near-eastern chieftain would – he straps on his sword, gathers 300 servants, chases after them, wins a battle and takes back all his people and all his stuff.

On the way back, Melchizedek meets him. He is, according to the commentary in the New Testament book of Hebrews, King of Peace. His name means “King of Righteousness.” He is clearly of higher rank than Abraham – Abraham pays him tithes; Melchizedek blesses Abraham.

King of Righteousness. King of Peace.

Superior to the patriarch of all Jews, Muslims, and Christians.

Most likely a Christophany – an appearance of Christ in the Old Testament. Most certainly, a type of Christ.

Either way, what’s the point? Why did Melchizedek come out to meet Abraham on his way home from a victorious battle? Why did Abraham give him 10% of his spoil? Why did Melchizedek bless Abraham? Was this all to communicate congratulations to a victorious warrior? Or was there something deeper going on?

Could it be a foreshadowing of a higher calling? A better way? A hint at a new way of living?

Perhaps God was essentially saying to Abraham: “I am not mad at you; I understand why you took up the sword. The way of the sword is all you know. But, there is coming a better way, a higher way, the way of righteousness and peace. Abraham, you choose to live in a tent because you are looking millennia into the future for a city that has foundations whose builder and maker is God. In My Kingdom, Abraham, My followers do not live by the sword. They turn the other cheek; they go the second mile; they practice enemy-embracing love. They are nonviolent. They do not participate in wars. They seek no revenge. They follow Messiah, the Christ, the Son of the living God, who is King of Righteousness and King of Peace. They follow Jesus who forgave His murderers from the cross.”

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