"Before refrigerators, people used ice-houses to preserve their food. Ice-houses had thick walls, no windows, and a tightly fitted door. In winter, when streams and lakes were frozen, large blocks of ice were cut from the frozen waters, hauled to the ice-houses, and covered with sawdust. Often these ice-blocks would last well into the summer.
Another great preacher whose writings I love to read is John R. Rice. He wrote, "I once imagined I was in Heaven, walking along with the Angel Gabriel. I said, "Gabe, what is that big building over there?"
Looking at the relationship between “love and affection” ("chiba" in Hebrew) and “obligation” ("chova" in Hebrew), we find another closely related word, “chaver”, one of the Hebrew words for “friend”. Friends are people with whom we share love and affection and also a sense of obligation. Our God and Father wants us to be His friends, to share love and affection with Him and to carry the sense of responsibility and obligation which friendship requires.
Here's another interesting Hebrew word parallel. The Hebrew word for "love" or "affection", "chiba", is formed by the same root letters as the word, "chova", "obligation", "debt", or "duty". In Hebrew, the only difference between these two words is a few vowel points. But you say, "Isn't love the very opposite of obligation !?" Well, yes and no. The Hebrew language has a wonderful way of relating concepts which seem incompatible.
The Hebrew word for "face" is "panim", (the Hebrew letters, peh-nun-yud-mem), literally "faces", a plural word. Normally, when we think about God, we focus only upon one of His "faces” at a time. God is "love" – or He is "holy"– or He is "just"— or He's a God of "wrath". Yet, of course, ALL these "faces" are His at once; and so the word "panim" accurately reflects the truth of God's multifaceted being. As we get to know Him better we begin to appreciate the complexity of His nature and the fact that our focus on one "face" is a very limited view, since there's so much more going on in His amazing "Personality".
The first king of Israel, King Saul,was told by God to utterly slay Amalek and his descendants. In blatant disobedience Saul allowed Agag, the king of the Amalekites and the best of the cattle to remain alive. The following day, Saul tried to remedy his disobedience by attempting to sacrifice the best of the cattle to the Lord.
While on the road to Damascus, Jesus appeared to Saul, blinded him and directed him to go to Damascus. There, God spoke to Ananias of Saul and told to lay hands on this troubled man. Ananias did as he commanded and Saul was filled with the Holy Spirit, healed of his blindness and immediately baptized.
The word for "restitution" in this passage is the Greek word – "apokatastasis". This is the one and only place it is found in the New Testament. The word literally means to "restore again" or "to repair". The plan of God in sending His Son Yeshua (Jesus) was to restore that which had been broken and ruined. The Lord's saving work is a global repair job. Each one of us has come to Him already ruined by sin. But God's will and His promise is to restore and renew us through His Son.
Charles Swindoll wrote about these men who bring in animals from Africa for American zoos. They say that one of the hardest animals to catch there is the ringtailed monkey. For the Zulus of that continent, however, it's simple. They've been catching this agile little animal with ease for years.
We tend to focus on the part of that scripture where God does the blessing — but why did He bless Him? The answer lies in the passage! The Lord told Abraham: "I will bless you — and you shall be a blessing." Abraham was blessed so that he could be a blessing!
A United States Army officer who trained pupils at Fort Sill for over 20 years once described the different qualities of the students during the two decades of his tenure. During the 1950's, he observed the students' attitude as being so lax that the instructors had trouble keeping their students awake during their lectures. This drastically changed in the mid 1960's. The students began taking meticulous notes and absorbing every word of instruction. So, what changed?
A well known speaker started off his seminar by holding up a $20 bill. In the room of two hundred, he asked, "Who would like this $20 bill?" Hands immediately started going up.
As believers, we are all called to transform the little world around us. C.S. Lewis offered a thoughtful perspective on remaining heavenly minded while continuing to make an impact in this present world.
One of my favorite passages in the Scriptures is Psalm 1, and clearly this psalm holds an important key for our lives as believers to be fruitful and prosperous. That key is meditation. The psalmist describes the one who prospers as one who meditates "day and night"; a continual meditation developing the Godly habit of disciplining one’s mind in divine truth.
When Yeshua (Jesus) was attacked by Satan during His temptation in the wilderness, He countered every attack with the Word of God. But notice in Satan’s second attack – the enemy himself quoted the Scriptures, saying, “If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down, for it is written, 'He shall give his angels charge over thee, and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.'” (Matthew 4:6 was a quote from Psalm 91:11, but the phrase, “to keep thee in all thy ways” was absent from Satan's quote).
The high priest of Ancient Israel wore a crown of pure gold on his head called a Nezer, which comes from the word “nazar”. This word "nazar" means to dedicate, consecrate and sacredly separate. The word “nazarite” comes from this root, and describes someone who has taken a vow to be separated from the world.
There’s nothing we can do to earn God’s love, however if we want to experience His blessings we need to observe the qualifications that He’s given us in His Word. Psalm 112 details a whole list of blessings, but the key to receiving them is verse 1.
Bobby Jones was one of the greatest golfers to ever compete, uniquely known for winning the "Grand Slam" of golf winning all four major tournaments in the U.S. and Britain in a single year. In 1925, early in his career, having reached the final playoff in the U.S. Open, at a certain point in the match, Jones was setting up to strike his ball which was in the rough just off the fairway. His iron accidentally touched the ball. He immediately became angry with himself, turned to the marshals, and called a penalty on himself.
Every time I turn on the news it seems the new buzzword is – CHANGE! So how can we just shift gears and change? Let's learn a lesson about basic automotive mechanics. Generally a car has between 4 and 5 gears. The first gear maximizes power in exchange for speed. As you move through the gears, you can continue to go faster, yet without using any more power, and before you know it – you have to look at the speedometer – cause nobody wants a speeding ticket!
Writing to the Corinthian Church, Paul illustrates his exhortation using the metaphors of running a race and fighting a boxing match. Victory is achieved by bringing your body into submission to the will of God.