Heavenly Horses

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How would you feel if your town or city was surrounded by an army poised to attack?

Of course, that is unlikely to happen. So I’ll ask a more relevant question. How would you feel if you knew the world contained nearly 15,000 nuclear warheads, which were located in 9 different countries? This is relevant because it’s true, which makes it all the more disturbing. I was going to mention China’s massive army of a few million active military personnel but that information almost seems anti-climatic in light of the news about the nukes.

Most people don’t worry about any of this. They’re more concerned about bills, babies and back problems (a personal favourite of mine). I wasn’t worried about the nukes either until I read about them. At this point I must apologize. I just realized that you probably weren’t thinking about global catastrophe until you read this blog. Sorry.

But when you think about it, there’s not much we can do about the nukes. Bills, babies and backs are more within reach and seem more controllable. Yet, there’s usually not much we can do about those either. But we worry about them don’t we? Should we though? Much has been written about the uselessness of worry and I suspect most people are aware of the fact that it accomplishes nothing. Yet, we still do it. It reminds me of my relationship with sugar. I know I shouldn’t eat too much of it, but I do so rather consistently. I do what I know I shouldn’t. Can anyone relate?

There’s a reason why I mentioned angry men, armies and nukes. It has to do with a story from the Old Testament involving a prophet, his servant and the nation of Syria (see 2 Kings 6). The king of Syria at the time was not Bashar al-Assad. It was Ben Hadad. Now this Ben Hadad was in the habit of making raids on the territory of Israel. So when he planned a raid God would tell Elisha the prophet about it, and Elisha would warn the king of Israel. Ben Hadad thought there was a traitor in his midst but he was informed by one of his servants that the problem was the prophet. The servant said, “(Elisha the prophet) tells the king of Israel the words that you speak in your bedroom.” (2 Kings 6:12)

So Ben Hadad’s brilliant solution was to eliminate the prophet. To accomplish the task at hand he sent one of his military units to the city of Dothan to arrest Elisha. When Elisha’s servant looked out the window and saw the army surrounding the city he did what you and I (or at least I) likely would have done. He panicked. He basically said, “OMG we’re toast. It’s lights out for us. Elisha, what in God’s name are we going to do?” (Smith Paraphrase Version)

Elisha’s response was basically, “what are you worried about, it’s just a bunch of angry men who want to kill us?” (SPV). Elisha’s actual words, according to a more traditional translation, were: “Don’t be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” (NKJV) Then he prayed.

What would you pray in a situation like that? Elisha could have prayed that God would give his servant peace of heart or calmness of mind. But he didn’t pray any of that. Instead, he prayed that God would open his eyes. Not his physical eyes. These were already wide open. They were probably open a little bit too much. But his spiritual eyes were closed shut. He couldn’t see beyond the immediate physical threat.

So God opened his spiritual eyes and allowed him to gaze into the supernatural realm. There he saw that the hills and mountains were full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. In God’s sight Ben Hadad’s troops looked like a bunch of kids with Nerf Guns. God wasn’t concerned about the Syrians. Neither is He concerned about 15,000 nukes or armies of millions. Incidentally, Revelation 9:16 speaks about a last days army that will number 200 million. Is God concerned about that? Nope. Should we be anxious about it? Not according to Philippians 4:6.

It doesn’t matter how many troops are in the enemy camp. There’s always more in the camp of God. Even if there weren’t multitudes of heavenly horses and chariots of fire we’d still have God Himself, and one + God is always a majority. If you’re not an avid student of the Bible you’re probably wondering how Elisha and his servant fared against the Syrians. Well, they did quite well actually. The same God who opened the spiritual eyes of the servant also closed the physical eyes of the Syrian raiders. All in answer to prayer of course.

By way of summary then, Elisha led the enemy into Samaria, where the King of Israel desired to kill them. Elisha had a better idea. Prepare a hot meal for them and send them home bewildered. Elisha’s plan worked. The raiders never returned. All of which shows that one act of kindness is much more effective then one act of revenge but that’s another blog entirely.

We might say that Elisha did indeed kill the Syrian raiders, just not with swords or slings. He killed them with kindness. Not your typical response to a hostile army but the results spoke for themselves.

Shooting for success in Parenting

The other day I shot my eight-year-old son in the face. Twice. The first bullet struck him on the forehead. The second struck him on the cheek. Thankfully, he was wearing his goggles. Even more tha…

Source: Shooting for success in Parenting

All Aboard

No offence to Russel Crowe but I heard the Hollywood film “Noah” wasn’t very good.

I haven’t seen the movie but I heard that it strays considerably from the biblical narrative. I’m not denying that the movie was probably well put together with good acting and dazzling special effects. I’m just saying it would have been nice if they had stayed closer to the text of scripture. But that’s Hollywood for you.

In any case, Noah is one of the best-known Bible characters because his name is associated with the greatest catastrophe in the history of the human race. One thing we know about the Ark (which Noah built in obedience to God) is that it was a massive structure. Big enough to fit two of every animal.
And I tend to think the ark was big enough to fit extra people if necessary. Unfortunately, the ark set sail with quite a few empty seats.

It reminds of the Titanic. While the great ship was slowly sinking into the frigid waters of the North Atlantic lifeboats were lowered to the sea half-full. From the ark to the titanic, to some of our churches today, it’s the tragic story of empty seats. I know what some of you are thinking. You don’t have to occupy a seat in a particular building in order to be saved. That much is true.

The ark of safety for us is not a big floating box with three decks, or any other kind of physical structure made of wood and stone. The ark of safety is a Person, none other than the Lord Jesus Christ. Yet we also see in scripture that the church is called the Body of Christ. Has Christ become severed from His own body? Can we have a relationship with Christ and at the same time refuse to associate with a local body of believers?

Some claim they don’t need to sit in church on Sunday morning in order to worship God. They feel closer to Jesus while sitting on their couch sipping freshly brewed coffee. Surely, it’s easier and more comfortable to sit home and watch church on TV than it is to get dressed, get in the car and drive to a building filled with messy, imperfect people.

But is it right? And is it best for the one desiring to sit at home? Of course, it’s much easier to raise questions than it is to provide solid answers.

One thing I can say for sure. There’s no salvation apart from Christ. He is the ark of safety for humanity today and there’s no shortage of room for those who want to get onboard. If you have questions and doubts about the church (or about anything else) you’re certainly not alone. My only advice would be, don’t let the questions and doubts keep you from Christ.

I’d even go so far as to say, don’t let the church keep you from Christ. It almost sounds blasphemous but it’s true. When operating at its worst, the church can actually hinder genuine seekers from finding the Lord. When operating at its best the church is a lighthouse, warning people of danger, helping them to safely reach their destination.

There’s safety in following Jesus. He loves us. He knows what is best for us. We just need to trust Him.

The Inner Sense

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I’ve always been facinated with the brain.
​Not my own in particular, but brains in general. How they function. What they’re made of. Why they stop operating properly when you need them most.

I was reading a story recently that spoke of our brain’s built-in ability to recognize the existence of God (see link to full story below). According to scientific research, the tendency to believe in God is no accident. It’s hard-wired into our brains.

We can’t help ourselves. Scientists say even children left to their own devices, with no prior teaching, still have some conception of God. I believe Romans 1 has something to say about this.. Verse 19 says, “…what may be known of God is manifest in them (people), for God has shown it to them.”

Yes, the inner sense is in all of us, telling us there has to be something more to life than the things we see around us. So if this “inner sense” is in all of us how do we explain the tendency toward atheism? I would propose that even atheists have the inner sense. It hasn’t left them. It doesn’t really leave anybody. It may get smothered under layers of hurt, pain, wrong teaching, pride, and deception but it doesn’t really leave.

Perhaps, the inner sense is the very thing that causes some atheists to fight so ardently against belief in God. Deep down, they know He’s real. They just don’t like Him very much. Please understand, I’m not judging atheists. I know some atheists personally and I like them. They’re great people. There’s a variety of reasons why people come to a place of unbelief.

​But I do believe that all atheism involves some form of denial. Obviously, there’s a denial of the facts of scripture. But also there’s denial both of the inner sense mentioned above and the witness of creation. Romans speaks further about this. Verse 20 says, “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.”

Ouch. “They are without excuse.” That part scares me a little, for the sake of those who have chosen unbelief. Ultimately, whatever reasons a person has to deny the reality of God, there’s really no valid excuse for doing so.

On a lighter note, the research also found that prayer helps people overcome anxiety, depression and high blood pressure. Apparently, the positive affects of prayer are impossible to overestimate. Who knew?

Of course, prayer is much more effective when you know the God you’re praying too. If you know His Son then there’s really no limit to what your prayers can accomplish. If your inner sense of God has come alive through the Holy Spirit then you carry the potential of being a powerful prayer warrior. If you don’t know what a prayer warrior is then I encourage you to watch the movie War Room.

READ THE STORY ABOUT THE INNER SENSE @ CHARISMA.COM