Ruminations in Theology


“…they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead.”  Acts 14:19b The Apostle Paul having just healed a lame man, so captivated the people of Lystra they extolled him and Barnabas as incarnate gods (Acts 14:8-11).  But envious, wicked Jews came from Iconium and Antioch and persuaded the multitude to turn violently against Paul.  Poisoned by Satanic lies of the Jews, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, thinking he was dead (Acts 14:19).  Scripture records moments later when his disciples gathered around him, he arose and entered the city.  Amazingly, the very next day he and Barnabas traveled approximately fifty miles to the city of Derbe and once arriving there, preached the gospel (Acts 14:20).  The Lord must have performed a supernatural healing of Paul, for he was most likely a bloody pulp and in a moribund state, if not dead.  What is even more amazing than Paul’s miraculous survival, was that from Derbe he returned to Lystra–the very city where his murderers resided (Acts 14:21).   So why did Paul return to such a hostile and pernicious venue?  Most believers, if not all, would have fled fast and far from such an inflammatory environment; but not Paul, he did not faint from valiantly risking his life.  Selflessly, he hoped to encourage the brethren, who may have witnessed firsthand or heard of the pandemonium which culminated with his stoning.  Paul exhorted them to abide in faith, declaring: “…Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.” (Acts 14:22b).    Paul’s fearlessness was not foreign to him, it was the power of the Holy Spirit engrained within him (Jn. 14:17, 2 Tim. 1:7).  For example, when he had called the Ephesian elders together, to instruct them with a parting exhortation, he said: “And now, behold, bound in spirit, I am on my way to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there,  except that the Holy Spirit solemnly testifies to me in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions await me. But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, in order that I may finish my course, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God.” (Acts 20:22-24).   When Paul was departing Caesarea, he was warned by brethren there of the imminent danger awaiting him at Jerusalem: “…a certain prophet named Agabus came down from Judea.  And coming to us, he took Paul’s belt and bound his own feet and hands, and said, ‘This is what the Holy Spirit says: ‘In...

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Goliath: An Easy Defeat for God

Goliath: An Easy Defeat for God


Posted By on Apr 17, 2020

“And David put his hand into his bag and took from it a stone and slung it, and struck the Philistine on his forehead. And the stone sank into his forehead, so that he fell on his face to the ground.” 1 Sam. 17:49 The David and Goliath battle has always been a very popular Bible story, for Christian and even secular people.  For most, there is a certain satisfaction reading about the underdog David, defeating the formidable foe Goliath. Comparing God’s tiny nation of Israel to the vast secular and hostile world is like comparing David, the small shepherd boy, a mere child– to the behemoth giant of a man, Goliath.  There is however one very significant factor in this apparent mismatch—God!  It is imperative to remember that God chose and set His eternal covenant love upon David and Israel.  Therefore, no enemy can harm “the apple(s) of God’s eye” (Ps. 17:8, Zech. 2:8).  God would deliver His beloved from their enemies and do so in miraculous fashion. That said, under the leadership of King Saul, the army of Israel went up against the Philistines in battle.  When they saw the imposing Philistine champion Goliath approaching, they became terrified and fled (1 Sam. 17:21, 24).  When the young shepherd boy David saw his fellow Israelites stricken with terror, he went before King Saul and vowed he would slay the giant Philistine, with God’s help (1 Sam. 17:32, 36-37).   When King Saul saw young David’s zeal, he capitulated to his request.  Now Goliath was well-armed and adorned with heavy protective armor: “Then a champion came out from the armies of the Philistines named Goliath, from Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span [nearly ten feet tall].  And he had a bronze helmet on his head, and he was clothed with scale-armor which weighed five thousand shekels of bronze [one hundred and twenty-five pounds].   He also had bronze greaves on his legs and a bronze javelin slung between his shoulders.  And the shaft of his spear was like a weaver’s beam, and the head of his spear weighed six hundred shekels of iron [fifteen pounds]; his shield-carrier also walked before him.” (1 Sam. 17:4-7–brackets added). Armed with a shepherd’s staff, a sling and five smooth stones retrieved from a nearby brook, the small shepherd-boy was unafraid and filled with confidence as he proceeded to battle Goliath (1 Sam. 17:40). David was secure in knowing the God of Israel would deliver Goliath into his hands: “Then David said to the Philistine, ‘You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in...

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Do Not Fear The Unknown

Do Not Fear The Unknown


Posted By on Apr 11, 2020

“And do not fear those who kill the body, but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”                                       Matt. 10:28 Are Christians supposed to be afraid?  Does feeling or exhibiting “fear” of anyone or anything give glory to our eternal Creator?  Yes, we will experience times of sorrow and grief in life, but they should never take us to the point of despair.  Jesus ostensively commanded believers not to worry about life’s necessities: “For this reason I say to you, do not be anxious for your life, as to what you shall eat, or what you shall drink; nor for your body, as to what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body than clothing?” (Matt. 6:25).  Additionally, the Bible is clear regarding how Christians are to conduct life—not to be fearful of anyone or anything—but only to fear God Himself (Matt. 10:28, Luke 12:4-5).  When Jesus sent out His twelve disciples to herald the Lord’s kingdom, it was their first time out from under His auspices (Matt. 10:5-42).  It was a new chapter in the life of the fledgling messengers–no longer were they only followers of their Teacher but were formally being sent out by their Lord.   Being messengers of His gospel and the kingdom to come, is what Jesus had trained and instructed His disciples to do.  The disciples would traverse in “unknown” land, venues and temperaments.  It was a message met with hostility—Jesus forewarned them: “But beware of men; for they will deliver you up to the courts, and scourge you in their synagogues;  and you shall even be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles.” (Matt. 10:17-18).  The twelve were instructed to walk by faith and trust in God because He would provide for them.  (Matt. 10:19-20, cf. 6:31-32). Jesus’ disciples were told to preach the message, no matter how difficult and how high the cost: “And brother will deliver up brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents, and cause them to be put to death.  And you will be hated by all on account of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved.” (Matt. 10:21-22, cf. 34-36).  Imagine how Jesus’ strong words of instruction must have evoked fear and terror in the hearts of His disciples, for they knew they must obey their Lord.  Furthermore, He commanded: “And do not fear those who kill the body,...

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Two Overlooked Acts of Forgiveness!

Two Overlooked Acts of Forgiveness!


Posted By on Apr 11, 2020

Two Possibly Overlooked Acts of God’s Forgiveness “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.”                                   Isa. 55:9 When many Christians ponder the account of the “thief on the cross” [actually “robber”], 1 they may overlook a powerful truth regarding the amazing nature of God’s forgiveness (Luke 23:39-43).  Attention is typically given to the thief’s immediate presence with in heaven upon his death: “absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.” (2 Cor. 5:8).  Although, this is a crucial truth to understand regarding the condition of the believer’s soul immediately upon death, another truth that could be drawn from the passage (Luke 23:39-43)–God’s profound pardoning of a sinner!  All four Gospels record Jesus crucified between two criminals, one on His right and the other His left (Matt. 27:38, Mark 15:27, Luke 23:32, John 19:18).  During the initial hours of the crucifixion, both robbers hurled insults at  Jesus (Matt. 27:44), but as their life blood drained from their dying bodies one of them was converted and believed in Jesus as Savior.  When the unregenerate robber continued to “blaspheme” Jesus (Luke 23:39), the newly redeemed one rebuked him: “…Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” (Luke 23:40-41).  Only moments prior he was an unbelieving condemned criminal, but as a newly transformed saint he affirmed Jesus’ innocence rightly “fearing” God.   Turning to his merciful Savior he humbly pled: “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!” (Luke 23:42).  When he uttered these words, Jesus revealed His compassionate heart.  Amazingly, even as Jesus was enduring His Father’s infinite wrath for the weight of the world’s sin, He mercifully said to the penitent sinner: “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:43).  Would it not be comforting to have Jesus personally assure your salvation?  Think of the mercy and grace Jesus had for that criminal, despite having the knowledge that his entire life up until that point consisted of violent lawlessness.  This example defies human reasoning (cf. Jer. 34:34, Heb. 8:12, Rom. 5:8).  To Jesus, the robber’s wretched past did not matter–He had wiped his slate clean.  This incredible promise is indeed true for “all” who put their faith in Christ (cf. Jn. 6:37, 40).  God’s grace is truly amazing!    Another potentially overlooked act of God’s forgiveness occurred the moment Jesus died on the cross, Scripture reads:...

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Why Christians Should Carry A Bible

Why Christians Should Carry A Bible


Posted By on Aug 12, 2019

“Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. ” (Matt. 5:16). A few years back I wrote an article expressing my concern that the vast majority of Christians will soon completely eliminate carrying a Bible in book form.1  Technological advancements are culpable of aiding and abetting, the expedition of that reality coming to fruition.  One look around at many worship services today and you will see most of the congregation utilizing their phones [or other electronic devices], in place of  physical Bibles to access God’s Word.  Sadly, Christians have become deeply entrenched in this “hi-tech” age, where “Bible apps” are the predominant method chosen to look-up Scripture.  Moreover, I have heard believers glory in all the biblical tools available at their fingertips.  In defense of their praise, they contend that it’s beneficial to have numerous Bible resources readily accessible indicating the capability to conveniently swipe to a verse, tap on that verse to locate its cross-references, or tap on a word to view the original language; all in mere seconds.  One proponent of hi-tech asked me: “If a physical Bible is cumbersome for me to lug around, inconvenient to use, and lacking all the Bible tools designed to make my Christian life easier, why then should I abandon those modern helps?”       Before I answer those questions, I want to make a personal observations.  In the recent past, my typical Lord’s day gathering was a glorious experience, when I observed my fellow brothers and sisters all carrying Bibles.  Because of that shared commonality, I felt a strong sense of unity and oneness with my fellow believers in Christ.   I was encouraged when I witnessed them with physical Bibles, because I could see that they possessed a copy of God’s Word.  Unlike today, it is disappointing to witness so many Christians entering the house of God without observable Bibles, I am left to wondering if they have “electronic Bibles” buried in their pockets.  Moreover, it’s disillusioning not knowing if a person sitting beside me, even has the Word of God in his or her possession.   Furthermore, interruptions, distractions, and temptations are likely to occur during the worship service.  The “iphone” does not only contain a Bible app, it is a live medium to the internet and literally one “swipe” away from engaging the evil world–the very Satanic system Christians should be escaping from on the Lord’s day!  On more than one occasion I observed people responding to “text messages” or “surfing the internet” during the worship service.  In fact, on one Lord’s day...

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Shake the Dust From Your Feet

Shake the Dust From Your Feet


Posted By on May 21, 2019

“Even the dust of your city which clings to our feet, we wipe off in protest against you…”  Luke:10:11 “Shaking the dust off the feet” was a common display of contempt toward Gentiles by the Jews.  So ardently was their hatred of Gentiles, that even the dust that clung to the bottom of their sandals from Gentile territories was removed, as to not pollute their own “holy” land upon re-entering it.   The Jews vaingloriously believed they were far better than Gentiles (all non-Jews) and presumed them to be unworthy of God’s attention.  Perhaps their haughty behavior grew from the fact that they are God’s “chosen people” (Deut. 7:6, Isa. 14:2, 43:20); a “special treasure, above all peoples on the face of the earth” (Deut. 14:2);”…to whom belongs the adoption as sons and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law and the temple service and the promises...entrusted with the oracles of God.” (Rom. 9:4, 3:2b); and “…the apple of His eye.” (Zech. 2:8).  Furthermore, God made a covenant with their father Abraham, an unconditional promise to make them a great people and give them and land and blessings  (Gen. 12:1-3, 15:18-21).  Israel was required to be lights to Gentile nations and to glorify the God of Israel. (Ex. 19:5-6).  However, they behaved disobediently and miserably failed to represent God’s holiness to the pagan nations, often refraining from setting foot in Gentile cities.  They even despised half-breed Jews; Jews and Samaritans who intermarried.  If for instance, a Jew had to travel on foot from Judah to Galilee (approximately ninety miles), many times they bypass the significantly shorter route through the city of Samaria and trekking around it, would walk the extra distance.  As with Gentiles, the Jews believed that setting foot in Samaria would defile them.   Jesus, on the other hand ascribed a different meaning to the act of “shaking the dust off the feet”.  He turned the Jews act of derision toward Gentiles, into a testimony and condemnation upon themselves for their rejection of Him as their Messiah.  For example, when Jesus sent out His disciples to the lost sheep of Israel, He gave them the command: “…Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans.  But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel…And any place that does not receive you or listen to you, as you go out from there, shake off the dust from the soles of your feet for a testimony against them.” (Matt. 10:5b-6, 14).  Luke’s Gospel adds Jesus stating: “Even the dust of your city which clings...

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