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Psalm 65:9- You take care of the earth and water it, making it rich and fertile. The rivers of God will not run dry; they provide a bountiful harvest of grain, for you have ordered it so.


Inspiration Picture

Inspiration Picture

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Deuteronomy 16:13-15 “Celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles for seven days after you have gathered the produce of your threshing floor and your winepress. Be joyful at your Feast–you, your sons and daughters, your menservants and maidservants, and the Levites, the aliens, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns. For seven days celebrate the Feast to the LORD your God at the place the LORD will choose. For the LORD your God will bless you in all your harvest and in all the work of your hands, and your joy will be complete.”

Taken from Wikipedia- ”

Sukkot (Hebrew: סוכות or סֻכּוֹת, sukkōt ; “booths”, also known as Sukkos, Succoth, Feast of Booths or Feast of Tabernacles), is a Biblicalpilgrimage festival that occurs in autumn on the 15th day of the month of Tishrei (late September to late October). The holiday lasts seven days, including Chol Hamoed. In Judaism it is one of the three major holidaysShalosh Regalim (three pilgrim festivals), when historically the Jewish populace traveled to the Temple in Jerusalem. known collectively as the

The word Sukkot is the plural of the Hebrew word sukkah, meaning booth or hut. The sukkah is reminiscent of the type of huts in which the ancient Israelites dwelt during their 40 years of wandering in the desert after the Exodus from Egypt. During this holiday, Jews construct and reside in sukkot small and large. Here families eat their meals, entertain guests, relax, and even sleep. The other key and unique observance of the festival is the daily (other than on Shabbat) waving of the Arba minim, or four species, consisting of the lulav, etrog, hadassim and aravot.”

Psalm 118:21-22- ” I shall give thanks to You, for You have answered me, And You have become my salvation. The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief corner stone.”

Matthew 21:42- “ Jesus said to them,Did you never read in the Scriptures, `THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED, THIS BECAME THE CHIEF CORNER STONE; THIS CAME ABOUT FROM THE LORD, AND IT IS MARVELOUS IN OUR EYES’?

Acts 4:8-12 “Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers and elders of the people, if we are on trial today for a benefit done to a sick man, as to how this man has been made well, let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead–by this name this man stands here before you in good health. “He is the STONE WHICH WAS REJECTED by you, THE BUILDERS, but WHICH BECAME THE CHIEF CORNER stone. “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”
Corner Stone

I am going to take this opportunity to talk about a subject that is very dear to my heart: Christ being who he says he is. I will be explaining it in 2 parts, here and on “Jordan”. This part concerns the fulfillment of prophecy.

My husband has a book by Frank Harber called “Beyond a Reasonable Doubt” that specifically touches on this subject. On pages 66-67, he talks about “Evidence of Messianic Prophecies”. “The truth of Christianity stands upon the fact that Jesus is the Christ. If it shown that Jesus did not fulfill the Messianic prophecies, then Christianity would not be true. No other religion has such a stringent test imposed upon it’s leader. In Jesus Christ, 456 identifiable prophecies were uniquely filled. Chances of any man fulfilling just 48 of such prophecies is a probability of 10 ^157 ( or ten to the 157th power). This figure, calculated by Peter Stoner, Professor Emeritus at Westmont College, has been confirmed by the committee of the American Science Affiliation. The fulfillment of Messianic prophecy at such a high level of probability indicates a supernatural agent. The fact that Jesus is the Messiah is not just a clever guess, nor could Jesus been an impostor who carefully arranged the fulfillment of all the Messianic prophecies. To reject Jesus as the Messiah requires an unbelief that runs counter to the laws of probability. ”

Now there were some that could have been fulfilled by a man, but some would have been impossible to control. For example, it was prophesied in Micah 5:2, that he would be born in Bethlehem some seven centuries earlier. And in Isiah 7:14, to be born of a virgin. And that he would be from the house of David. And both Mary and Joseph were from David’s lineage (isiah 11:1-5). How much control does one have over his birthplace, heritage and parents? And shortly after his birth, to escape the wrath of Herod, his parents to Jesus to Egypt, which fulfilled 2 prophesies: Hosea 11:1 about them leaving Egypt and Jeremiah 31:15 when Herod had all the 2 year old baby boys killed thinking he would kill Christ in the process. And the first 2 chapters of Matthew, 5 separate prophecies are fulfilled. And it goes on and on!!

Many people say that they Christians are unscientific. That trusting in just “faith” is trusting in nothing. Yet, when presented with the true picture, it is simply hard not to believe. For example, I’m going to use the lottery. I took it off this website.

http://www.webmath.com/cgi-bin/lottery.cgi?count=7&low=1&high=50

I calculated my odd of winning a 7 number lottery using the numbers 1-50 to be: 1 in 99,884,400. (taken from the above site.) Here are some other odds for the sake of comparison:

You have about a 1 in 2,000,000 chance of being struck by lightning.
A pregnant woman has a 1 in 705,000 chance of giving birth to quadruplets.
Someone eating an oyster has a 1 in 12,000 chance of finding a pearl inside of it.

Now, lottery odds can be pretty incomprehensible. How can we possibly have any “feeling” for the number 99,884,400? To help you with this, here’s a little experiment you can try to “get a handle on” what a 1 in 99,884,400 chance really means.

Get a piece of rope or string, that’s 103 feet long. In a wide open area, arrange the rope or string in a circle, end to end, the best you can. Get a single grain of sand or dirt (use tweezers!) and place it anywhere you wish inside the circle. Get a second grain of sand. Close your eyes, and “disorient” yourself as to where the grain of sand is that you placed inside of the circle (have someone spin you around or something!). While you’re inside the circle, drop the second grain of sand from 1 foot up.
Your chances of hitting the first grain of sand with the second is roughly equal to the odds of “1 in 99,884,400.”

So that that seem crazy? Impossible? Now go back to the original odds I gave you. For Jesus to complete just 48 of the 456- it would be 10 with 157 0’s behind it. Jesus HAS to be the Messiah! Hope you enjoyed that.

MARK 1:1-11- “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As it is written in Isaiah the prophet:
“BEHOLD , I SEND MY MESSENGER AHEAD OF YOU,
WHO WILL PREPARE YOUR WAY; T
HE VOICE OF ONE CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS,`MAKE READY THE WAY OF THE LORD,MAKE HIS PATHS STRAIGHT.’ ”
John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And all the country of Judea was going out to him, and all the people of Jerusalem; and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins. John was clothed with camel’s hair and wore a leather belt around his waist, and his diet was locusts and wild honey.
And he was preaching, and saying, “After me One is coming who is mightier than I, and I am not fit to stoop down and untie the thong of His sandals. “I baptized you with water; but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

In those days Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. Immediately coming up out of the water, He saw the heavens opening, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon Him; and a voice came out of the heavens: “You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased.”

Jordan

Taken from this picture sent to me by my friend Nesreen of an aerial view of the Jordan River.

I am going to take this opportunity to talk about a subject that is very dear to my heart: Christ being who he says he is. I will be explaining it in 2 parts, here and on “Corner Stone”. This part concerns the fulfillment of prophecy and Christ being the Messiah. And I mention all this here because by John the Baptist preaching about Christ’s coming and in baptizing him, he fulfilled a scripture from Isiah.

My husband has a book by Frank Harber called “Beyond a Reasonable Doubt” that specifically touches on this subject. On pages 73-74, he talks about “The Evidence of the Trilemma Argument.”

“Many non-Christians who have difficulty accepting that Jesus is God have no trouble professing that Jesus was a great moral teacher. However, this position is not only illogical but impossible. Jesus claimed to be divine, nothing less. If Jesus was not God, he would be far less than just a great, moral teacher; he would be deluded, or a deceiver. There would be nothing great about the teaching of a man who merely pretended to be God. His teachings, if believed, would steer people away from the truth. Jesus can not be regarded as a great teacher, but no divine. There are only 3 options as to who Jesus was in light of his claims.

POSSIBILITIES AS TO THE IDENTITY OF JESUS

Identity — Implications

1. Deity— His message should be believed and trusted.

2. Deceiver—His message is that of a false, religious teacher. Jesus tricked people into following him.

3. Deluded— Jesus was simply a mentally ill person who believed that he was really God.

Let us examine all three.

Option 1: Jesus was a Deceiver.

This option holds that Jesus was a liar and willfully deceived people about religious truth. Jesus certainly could not be regarded as a great, moral teacher if her were found to be a pathological liar. Jesus would be a hypocrite of the highest order, instruction his followers in honesty and virtue while he lived out a religious deception… The notion of Jesus willfully perpetuation a religious deception makes no sense. What would Jesus have to gain by such a lie?… Moreover, if Jesus had been a religious deceiver, he certainly would have changed his store in the face of an impeding death.

Option 2: Jesus was Deluded

Was Jesus merely a sincere person who mistakenly thought he was God? … Jesus never displayed such characteristics. In Jesus, we find one of the greatest intellects in all of history having total control of his mind and actions. His words not only had a profound influence of ht people of his day, but they also continue to improve the lives of men and women today. … Such a man does not fit the psychological profile of a deluded person.

Option 3: Jesus is Deity

Jesus was not a madman claiming to be God; he had the credentials to back up his claim. There is sufficient evidence to substantiate that Jesus is divine. If you agree that Jesus was neither a deceiver nor deluded, the the only alternative left is that Jesus is deity. Which option do you believe is correct? Some have opted to ignore this question, but this is the most important question in history. You cannot remain neutral about this issue because the stakes are eternal life? Do you believe that Jesus is God? … If you have never committed your life to Jesus Christ, why not do so today? “

John 8: 31- 36 “So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never yet been enslaved to anyone; how is it that You say, `You will become free’?” Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever. “So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.”

Freedom

We love the movie “Braveheart” in our house. We have since the beginning. William Wallace fights for the freedom of his country. He is tricked, betrayed and left to be martyred in public. At the moment of climax in the movie, he is given one final opportunity to submit to the king, but instead he cries, “Freedom” with every ounce of strength he could muster. It’s so inspiring.

Yet Hollywood can not even compare to the freedom we can find in Christ. We as Americans understand freedom better than almost any other country in the world. We are afforded so many freedoms. But what so many don’t understand is that the very things that we do with our “freedom” makes us slaves.

Many I think falsely believe that being a Christian means that they can’t do anything fun. It will be a life of dullness and dreariness. Others mistakenly believe that they have freedom in Christ to do whatever they want because God will forgive them. Yet the Scripture is very clear.  (And sorry this is so long, but freedom in Christ is hard to explain clearly and very important also.)

Romans 6:1-14

“What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? 2 May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?3 Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; 7 for he who has died is freed from sin. 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. 10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11 Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, 13 and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. 14 For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.”

Basically Paul was saying that at one time we were all slaves to sin. We could not stop from sinning. It is impossible to be perfect. Yet, Christ in his life demonstrated perfection for us. And through his death, he gave us access to the very spirit of God, so that we too could have the ability to be free from sin. Not by ourselves, but through Christ. Since He died for our sin, we no longer have to serve that part. So we no longer can and should just go around sinning, simply so we can be forgiven. John Piper says on these verses, “We are justified by grace through faith alone because of our union with Christ whose righteousness is counted as ours. And now we see that this same union with Christ explains why we will not continue in sin.”

Paul continues in Romans 6: 14-19

” For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace. 15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be! 16 Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, 18 and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. 19 I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in further lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification.”

John Piper says of these verses, “In other words: Don’t desire sin as much as you desire God. Don’t desire sin’s lie as much as you desire God’s truth. When it comes down to the conflict between the desire for what sin offers and the desire for what God offers, prefer God. Which means that one great strategy of living the Christian life is to set God and his ways before us as our treasure – as preferable.” Much like a person desiring to lose weight, the cookie loses its desire if the weight goal is strong enough. Both are desirable, but the more desirable will win out.

John Piper also addresses the issues of the being under grace versus the law. “What does it mean to be “under grace” but not “under law”? My answer was that being “under law” means that we are bound to make lawkeeping the righteousness by which God justifies us. “Under law” means that justifying righteousness comes from our own lawkeeping. On the other hand, being “under grace” means that our justification is a gift of grace on the basis of Christ’s righteousness, Christ’s lawkeeping, Christ’s perfect obedience of faith (including his atoning death).”

So where does this freedom in Christ come from? In comes from being freed from sin by Christ. Piper states, ” We’ve been asking why being “under grace” guarantees that sin will not be master over us. Reason one: because under grace, the wrath of God is entirely removed and the power of God flows to us in saving, helping, keeping mercy, not punishment. Reason two: because under grace, paralyzing guilt is taken away and we are given hope that it is worth it to fight sin. Reason three: because under grace God himself comes into our lives and inclines our hearts away from sin and toward righteousness.”

So when God has us on His side, we have the freedom to be in His will; His perfect and pleasing will. What a great God we serve who is willing and able to free us from the burden of sin!!!

For more information on John Piper’s Ministries, go to : http://www.DesiringGod.org