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Archive for July, 2014

Romans 4:11 “And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while still uncircumcised, that he might be the father of all those who believe, though they are uncircumcised, that righteousness might be imputed to them also,”

Remember Thurston Howell III? You know, “the millionaire” in the Gilligan’s Island opening theme song, played comically by Jim Backus? Here was a man and his wife going on a “three hour tour” yet they brought enough luggage, clothes, and a trunk full of money for a summer vacation (why? Because money talks!) When push came to shove, Thurston would be there for his fellow castaways, but otherwise, he acted like the caricature of “old money”, not really associating with people who were not rich. There were a few plotlines in both the live-action series and the Saturday morning cartoon, when his attitude would change if he thought someone came into money and was now rich (such as Gilligan once). To him, money changed the status of the person; until then, he wouldn’t invite them into his social circle.

There was an argument that Paul is commenting on here: was Abraham, the father of the Jewish nation, declared righteous after he got circumcised or before? Most assuredly, Paul writes, before! His faith in God already had sealed him as righteous in God’s eyes. Now, he followed circumcision according to Jewish law, but this act alone didn’t make him righteous in God’s eyes. Paul was expounding that fact that salvation/righteousness was available to the circumcised (Jewish) and uncircumcised (Gentile) alike.

Back to a particular Gilligan’s Island cartoon: Howell and his wife weren’t allowing the other castaways to be members of their private beach resort that Thurston had tricked them into building. But when a storm threatened the island and wrecked the resort, Thurston and Lovey managed to make it to the emergency cave shelter…only to find a door! The Professor and Gilligan greeted them; however, the Professor asked if they had membership; meekly Howell admitted, they didn’t. “Good! We don’t believe in exclusion…come on in!” said the Professor. They were welcomed into the cave because they were fellow castaways and were their friends.

For your information: God’s gift of salvation doesn’t hinge on who you are, or what your status is…only if you have accepted Jesus, God the Son, as your Lord and Savior. If that’s the case…come on in!

Something to think about today.

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Acts 4:11 “This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’”

My father was a brickmason by trade. I worked on many a job with him growing up during summers. I’ve been on jobs where we started with a clean slab foundation. One of the first things he would do as he began to lay brick would be to lay the bricks in a corner of the building. He would lay the brick several courses high, spanning both walls it touched, always checking to make sure everything was good and level. He would lay another corner the same way…only then after they were done, would he lay the bricks in the middle. You see, the cornerstone of a building is very important; the rest of the building wall will line up straight and level (or not) depending on how level and set that cornerstone is.

Peter quoted Psalms 118:22 here, talking about how the cornerstone (speaking figuratively of Jesus) was rejected by the leaders of the day, yet became the chief cornerstone of Christianity. Upon Him is everything based and rooted in our belief. The religious leaders of the day did not think the Messiah would come in the form of Jesus; they were expecting a conquering military and political leader. But, as usual, the religious leaders missed it, rejecting the Living Foundation of our faith.

So, for your information, Jesus is the Cornerstone (as the song goes). I can’t say it any better than that.

Oh, by the way, the next verse in Psalms following this one, is verse 23: “This was the LORD’s doing; It is marvelous in our eyes.”

Something to think about today.

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John 4:11: “The woman said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water?” ”

Anyone who has been following these email/blog entries knows that I’m a fan of old Saturday morning cartoons. Chief among my favorite cartoons growing up was Superfriends. The episode I’m referring to today was titled “The Mysterious Moles”. It had to do with a speleology professor named Maximus Mole and his wife Minimus. They had discovered a deep, underground cave world (which they named Molesville) where rocks and trees have some form of ambulatory life thanks to the water source of the area; they named this strange water “walkwater”. Using walkwater on boulders and trees in our normal above-ground world enabled them to animate the boulders and trees to “help” them in “borrowing” massive air conditioner units from skyscrapers; they were using them to try and cool the area around the volcanic vents in the cave so they could harvest massive diamonds that lay around the vents. Their thefts of the units is what brought them into conflict with the Superfriends. Such a fanciful term as “walkwater” was interesting to someone like me who enjoys comic book fantasy.

Living water, which Jesus spoke about, is no fantasy, yet was always a fascinating term to those who read the Bible story of Jesus’s encounter with the woman at the well. A water that you could drink and never thirst again? Sounded too good to be true…yet it’s true. I always enjoyed the various ways that Jesus referred to the gift He brings…the gift of eternal life through Him. He spoke in terms that you and I (and the woman at the well) can understand…but the true meaning is so much deeper and satisfying.

Even deeper than a bottomless cave called Molesville. 🙂

For your information: walkwater is a cartoon term…living water is real…and free!

Something to think about today.

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Luke 4:11 “and, “’In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’”

In the old classic Hanna-Barbera cartoon series Shazzan, the brother and sister who commanded Shazzan, the laughing giant genie, through the magic rings, were observing a street magician one day. Chuck gave in to the temptation to show the magician up, but he couldn’t do it by himself. He convinced his sister Nancy to summon Shazzan together, who did indeed show the magician who had the greater magic. However, the usual jovial genie was cross with them, asking Chuck, “Is this why you summoned me, young masters?” Chuck admitted he was showing off, and Shazzan left them with the warning that “he who misuses the power of the rings shall be punished.” Later on, the two run afoul of the magical Master of the Thieves, who had stolen the rings. When their lives were threatened, they used the rings to summon Shazzan to save them (which is really the main reason they ever summoned him in most of the episodes). Shazzan appeared, stating, “So, now, you really do need me!” After defeating the Master of the Thieves, the genie asked the pair of the lessons they learned, and Chuck was very apologetic, hoping Shazzan was not still angry with him. He said, “It is written, anger is like the wind…once it blows, there is nothing to mark its passing.” “Hmm, who said that, Shazzan?” Chuck asked. The genie answered, “I did, young master! HoHoHoHO!”, and laughing he launched them on their way to their next adventure.

Even though Chuck and Nancy commanded the power of a mighty genie, they still were not to misuse that power, as Chuck did in the cartoon above. Now, this example was in a cartoon. The devil thought he could get Jesus to misuse His power by tempting him to fall from the highest part of the temple, knowing that the Son of God had angels at His command. The devil even misquoted Scripture to try and back up his assertion (Psalms 91:11) Jesus didn’t need to show off, leastways to the devil of all people! He reminded Him that you shall not tempt the Lord your God (also correctly quoting Scripture back at him (Deuteronomy 6:16))! And the devil left Him alone.

So, for your information, Jesus is God. He was and is the only One who could fulfill all the prophecies of the Messiah…and He did! He died for our sin payment and lives again! What else does He have to prove? Nothing.

Something to think about today.

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