BARAH MINISTRIES a Christian Church
The words of Agur…
Surely I am more stupid than any man, And I do not have the understanding of a man.//Neither have I learned wisdom, Nor do I have the knowledge of the Holy One.
Who has ascended into heaven and descended? Who has gathered the wind in His fists? Who has wrapped the waters in His garment? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is His name or His Son’s name? Surely you know!
Every word of God is tested; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him. //Do not add to His words Or He will reprove you, and you will be proved a liar.
Paul’s Transition from Bully to Braveheart is a Message for Your Life
Paul, a bond-servant (slave) of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart (by God) for the (dissemination of the) gospel (message) of God…
Therefore if (1) anyone is in (union with) Christ (and all believers in Christ are), he is a new creature (a new spiritual species); the (sovereignty of the) old (self) things (have) passed away (have lost their power); behold, new (spiritual species) things have come.
Persecutor of the Church
I (Paul) myself might have confidence even in the flesh (even though we should not have confidence in the flesh). If anyone else has a mind to put confidence in the flesh, I (should have that confidence) far more…// (I was) circumcised (on) the eighth day, (I am) of the nation of Israel, (I am) of the tribe of Benjamin, (I am) a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the (Mosaic) Law, (I am) a Pharisee;//as to zeal, (I am) a persecutor of the church…
A blustering, quarrelsome, overbearing person who habitually badgers and intimidates smaller or weaker people.
Someone who leads captive slaves to freedom
No kidding. The ROTC changed my life. It opened the door for me to the single most potent educational experience of my life...a brief stint on active duty in the United States Army. In retrospect, military service proved to be more mind shaping for me than four years of college, and more soul strengthening than the seminary.
As I write these words, I glance up at the wall above my computer, and I smile. There are no sheepskins there…but there is a faded Ranger School diploma, and old set of Vietnam jump wings, and pictures of young men. Hal Moore said it best, “We were soldiers once…and young.”
We were soldiers for a lot of reasons. One of them was “the bully syndrome.” Many years ago, as a young boy in a cozy little neighborhood in central Washington state, I learned a valuable lesson. Our neighborhood bully, Jimmy, would never stop throwing dirt clods and using strong-arm tactics to terrorize smaller children.
Yes. We complained. In fact, we begged. But time after time our “negotiation” attempts failed. Nothing seemed to work. Until one day, one of us gathered the courage to stand up to him. Lying flat on his back, Jimmy experienced an amazing change of perspective. He suddenly saw the logic of leaving the little people alone.
Bullies never seem to quit until someone takes the initiative to stand between them and their victims. Recall Goliath, or Adolf Hitler, or Saddam Hussein, or the devil himself?
The Christian is “the man in between.” With mind and heart committed to righteous principles, the Christian offers to shield others. When the Philistines occupied the south ridge of the valley of Elah, and the Israeli army the opposite ridge, each day the giant of Gath, Goliath, a bully, descended to the valley floor and taunted the champions of Israel.
Saul, the king of Israel, head and shoulders above his people, had no heart for being “the man in between” … the position between the bully and Saul’s Israeli army. But Jesse’s kid, David, did have the heart. To David, it was a straightforward proposition. For the good of others, the giant had to be called to account. Packing his simple shepherd’s equipment, a slingshot, David voluntarily stepped between his countryman and those who would harm them. You know the story. The giant fell…the enemy fled.
Every sane person seeks peace. For that very reason, we must also be anti-bully. On occasion, conflict…yes, even the shedding of blood…is necessary in securing peace. So it was for the Jews entering the Promised Land…so it was at Christ’s first coming…and so it will be at Christ’s second coming.
That’s at least part of the reason why, on a lesser plane of course, we need military services. The total depravity of man…and “the bully syndrome…” will be with us until the Lord Jesus Christ comes back again. Hence the warrior spirit must be righteously nourished in all of us Christians. There is a necessary place for being a warrior from a biblical perspective.
A thousand years after David faced Goliath at Elah, the Greater Son of David, the Lord Jesus Christ, demonstrated the warrior spirit when He claimed a piece of high ground at Calvary on a Cross, when He faced off with the champion of evil, the bully of bullies, Satan.
Warrior that He is, the Lord Jesus Christ stood between us and all that would destroy us, deliberately taking the full fury and shedding His own blood for the rest of us. And while the outcome was secured at Calvary on a Cross, our Savior’s days of battle are not over.
On a day still future, the Lion of Judah, the Lord Jesus Christ, will don a blood-spattered robe, mount a war horse, summon His saints, and take up a sword. Then and only then will there be peace and safety on our battered planet. In the meantime, there is the place for the warrior spirit among Christians…a necessary and respected place.
As he was traveling, it happened that he (Saul of Tarsus…Paul) was approaching Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him…
…and he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me (the Lord Jesus Christ)?”
Here I Am to Worship
When I Think About Home
Agrippa said to Paul, “You are permitted to speak for yourself.” Then Paul stretched out his hand and proceeded to make his defense…
“In regard to all the things of which I am accused by the Jews, I consider myself fortunate, King Agrippa, that I am about to make my defense before you today…”
“…especially because you are an expert in all customs and questions among the Jews; therefore I beg you to listen to me patiently.”
“So then, all Jews know my manner of life from my youth up, which from the beginning was spent among my own nation and at Jerusalem…”
“…since they have known about me for a long time, if they are willing to testify, that I lived as a Pharisee according to the strictest sect of our religion.”
“And now I am standing trial for the hope of the promise made by God to our fathers…”
“…the promise to which our twelve tribes hope to attain, as they earnestly serve God night and day. And for this hope, O King, I am being accused by Jews.”
“Why is it considered incredible among you people if God does raise the dead (in resurrection)?”
“So then, I thought to myself that I had to do many things hostile to the name of Jesus of Nazareth.”
ACT 26: 10
“And this is just what I did in Jerusalem; not only did I lock up many of the saints (believers in Christ) in prisons, having received authority from the chief priests, but also when they were being put to death I cast my vote against them.”
“And as I punished them often in all the synagogues, I tried to force them to blaspheme; and being furiously enraged at them, I kept pursuing them even to foreign cities.”
“While so engaged as I was journeying to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests…”
“…at midday, O King, I saw on the way a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining all around me and those who were journeying with me.”
“And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew dialect, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’”
“And I said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting.’”
“‘But get up and stand on your feet; for this purpose I have appeared to you, to appoint you a minister and a witness not only to the things which you have seen, but also to the things in which I will appear to you…’”
“‘…rescuing you from the Jewish people and from the Gentiles, to whom I am sending you…’”
“‘…to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to (the dominion of) God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.’”
Light of Fellowship
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