Monday, October 31, 2011

Leviticus has Specks of Gospel Gold?

Most of us view Leviticus as a boring, irrelevant read.
And so it is - if you read with your spiritual antenna dismantled.
But look what I found in Chapter 25.  The Law of Redemption.

There are several aspects to this law, but verses 47 - 55 really caught my attention.
Let's start with verses 47 - 48.
If a foreigner residing among you becomes rich and any of your fellow Israelites become poor and sell themselves to the foreigner or to a member of the foreigner's clan, they retain the right of redemption after they have sold themselves.
One of their relatives may redeem them.
[ Lev 25 : 47 - 48  NIV ]

Does this look very exciting to you?
Just hang in there - I think this might sneak into Chapter 4 in the book eventually.

Notice that a wealthy friend or some other well-to-do citizen can't redeem the sold person, only a close relative can.
That's the law - God's law.

Now what does that have to do with us?
Have you ever wondered why God came to this planet as flesh and blood to redeem us, rather than as an angel or in some other spiritual form?
Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might ....... free those who all their lives were held in slavery .....
For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way .....
[ Hebrews 2 : 14 - 17  NIV ]

He came as the fully human Jesus so that he would qualify as a close relative of those he came to rescue.
God lives by his own law.
He could not rescue us any other way.
Only a close relative could demand the release of those sold in debt or poverty or slavery.

Hallelujah!  Isn't that something?
Blessings, Barry
(I'll post some more on the remaining verses soon.)

The Giant Sudoku

This is a short section from Chapter TWO of the book.
Because some stuff that comes before it is relevant but missing in this post, it might not be as useful to you as it could be.  
But I thought it was worth sharing with you anyway, as it is part of my explanation of how God's sovereignty and man's "freewill" can co-exist, and this is always a challenge for thinking Christians to get their minds around.  This co-existence I have called The Magic Combo earlier in the chapter.

Isabel loves solving Sudoku puzzles (and I'm known to enjoy them pretty frequently too).
It occurs to me that these are another example of the Magic Combo we have been discussing.
Each puzzle has a designer and players.
The designer creates the puzzle, determines its end result and sets the rules to be used in its solution.
As such, the designer builds the fence inside which the players must remain to enjoy and solve the puzzle he/she has created.
The rules are written in negative form (you must not have the same numeral in any one row, column or region) as were the rules for the behaviour for the management team in our corporate governance-management model above.

Although there is only one correct solution or end result for each puzzle, players can work towards that in any way they choose - as long as they keep to the rules.
Within these limits, they are free to make a wide range of decisions and use a variety of strategies.
They have “limited freewill.”  (There's that term again.)
They can guess, follow clues logically, backtrack, erase the work done so far, start again, or any combination of these.
They can even put it aside for a time and come back to it sometime later.

But the correct solution never changes, nor do the rules, no matter what the player does.
The designer is sovereign, and all players must submit to his/her sovereignty.

Within the puzzle itself there are clues to help fill in the blanks and reach the goal.
And there is usually a rescue plan in place for those who can't make it on their own.
If the puzzle is in a book, there might be hints or the final solution in the back.
If the puzzle is attempted online, hints and prompts are readily available with the click of a mouse button.
One way or another, it is possible for every player to achieve the end result, although they may take different routes and different amounts of time.

We happily accept there is only one solution; we happily accept there are rules that cannot be broken; we happily accept the challenge the designer has set before us.
That's just the way things are!

As is life.
God is sovereign, the Designer, who has decided on the end result and set the rules for getting there.
Mankind can make choices and decisions like a Sudoku player, but in the end, there is only one result and the same rules apply to all players.
And thankfully, there is a rescue plan in place for those who can't or won't get to that result during their lifetime on the planet.

Blessings, Barry

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Acts 3 : 21

One of my favourite GRACE verses is Acts 3 : 21.
It addresses both God's purpose and some elements of his timing in achieving that purpose.
Heaven must receive Jesus until the time when everything will be restored as God promised through his holy prophets long ago.
[ GW ]
It was this verse that first got me started on a hunt through the Old Testament to see how far back God started talking about his plan to restore all things.
One of the first clues I bumped into was 2 Samuel 14 : 14.
Like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be recovered, so we must die.
But that is not what God desires; rather, he devises ways so that a banished person does not remain banished from him.
[ NIV ]
We might be banished or disappear from this planet, but will not be banished from God.
He has plans to keep in touch with us.

Another was Psalm 22 : 27 - 29.
All the ends of the world shall remember and turn to the LORD, And all the families of the nations shall worship before You.
For the kingdom is the LORD's, And He rules over the nations.
All the prosperous of the earth shall eat and worship; All those who go down to the dust shall bow before Him, even he who cannot keep himself alive.
Both the affluent and the poor, the alive and the dead, will all worship the Lord.

And what about this in Psalm 65 : 2?
You who answer prayer, to you all people will come.
[ NIV ]

And Lamentations 3 :  31 - 32.
For the Lord will not reject us forever.
Though he causes us grief, he then has compassion on us according to the abundance of his loyal kindness.
[ NET ]

And there are stacks more.
So this idea of GRACE - God Reconciles All Creation Eventually - is not a Plan B.
This was part of God's plan right from the beginning.

The more I study this, the more excited and appreciative I become.
Blessings, Barry

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Romans 11 : 36

Paul concludes his little essay in Romans chapters 9 - 11 on the history, condition and future of Israel with
"Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God!
For from him and through him and to him are all things.
To him be glory forever."
[ Romans 11 : 33 - 36   ESV]
Some translations have "for him are all things" rather than "to him are all things."
That sentence
"For from him and through him and to (or for) him are all things."
has become my mantra in recent years.

The Message translation says it this way.
"Everything comes from him;
Everything happens through him;
Everything ends up in him."
That truth has now permeated my whole being.
Everything I see, hear, read and think about is filtered through this speck of gospel gold.
It helps me keep God's overall purpose and plan in perspective so that I can more easily see isolated events and circumstances as consistent parts of God's big picture.

"To him be glory forever."

Monday, October 24, 2011

Specks of Gospel Gold

Hi Team.
Will I ever finish writing this book? 
I sure hope so.  
It's message has totally consumed my thinking, completely changed my outlook and will be such wonderful, freeing news to so many.

Nevertheless, I have explained so many times how I become distracted, not just with the events of life around me, but with exploring the new insights God is giving me as I spend so much more time these days reading and digesting his word.

Each new discovery or glimpse of new light usually captures my attention so much that I go hunting it down with single-focussed enthusiasm.
Many of these are confirmations of possibilities I have shared with you before - like the fact that at the Great White Throne all unbelievers will become believers, so that the Lake of Fire receives those who are believers whose names are NOT in the Book of Life.
But some of them are brand new thoughts like the discovery of TWO gospels, not just one as I had always believed.

The book-writing is definitely still happening, but more slowly, as I mentioned recently when I unhooked myself from the advertised time schedule for it. 

And you will have noticed that postings to the Blog have become quite rare.
Two reasons.
1.  All my recent writing has gone into the draft for the book.
2.  I haven't shared any of the distractions with you.

So that the Blog will not become completely deserted, I have decided to share some of these distractions with you - not as long epistles, but as small specks of Gospel Gold that I am discovering or wanting to brainstorm about.

As always your feedback is most welcome. 
Your email notification of a new posting or comment is an unformatted, unstyled version of what changed on the Blog, but should not be used to send me your feedback.
I just ask that all (non-personal) feedback be made as a Comment on the Blogsite so that all readers can enjoy the full discussion between us.

I'll probably get the first one up this week.
If you're not interested in these "extras", just delete the email announcing their arrival.
I'll still love you and appreciate your fellowship and feedback.  :-)

Blessings, Barry

Friday, October 7, 2011

Change of Pace

Hi Everyone.
For some time I've been working towards finishing the manuscript of the book by the end of the year so that it can be published early next year.
And I would still dearly love this to be so.
But I have to be real.

Events and other circumstances keep drawing me away from the desk, and my drive to keep to my schedule of completing a new chapter for you to look at every few weeks is putting at risk the need to be thorough in my research and thinking before I finalise what I write.

Today, I have decided that I must change that priority.
The need to be thorough in my writing must come first - regardless of how long it takes to get the job done.
People are going to be more influenced by what they read than by how long was taken to write it.
And what ends up in print is going to be around for a long time, and unable to be changed, so it must not be the product of hasty work.

I will continue to post chapters at as they are completed, and I will continue to be grateful for your critical comments on them. (I have had some great feedback from the bits already posted, so please keep that coming - it is so helpful.)

Blessings, Barry