Monthly Archives: July 2019

Acts: The Gospel of The Holy Spirit (Part 20)

Watch the latest video from McGuiggan Reflections.
For the next few months, we will be exploring the book of Acts in a series titled Acts: The Gospel of the Holy Spirit. We hope you enjoy and can benefit greatly from this study. To contact Jim, feel free to email him at holywoodjk@aol.com or visit his website at http://www.jimmcguiggan.com.
Watch on Youtube via IFTTT

Will I Find God There?

“As the deer pants for the streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God.” Psalm 42:1.

If I ask you what that “means” you can easily tell me. That’d be a very good question but a better question would be: “What do you SEE when you read it?”

There he is standing in the middle of the stream chest heaving and heart thumping like a runaway train speeding downhill. His wide-eyed and wild-eyed look scours every foot of ground around him but there’s no sign of them. Maybe he finally shook them off but his legs are trembling, throbbing and weary from miles covered at breakneck speed, his ribs are aching from the pressure of lungs expanded to their limit in sucking in great gulps of air, his throat is on fire and his mouth though foam-flecked is absolutely parched. He can wait no longer, danger or not he must find the nearest stream and drink or die.

The long chase, the fierce pack, the cunning way they pursued, always keeping him running full tilt with a single leader dog while the rest waited until he tired and then they’d take his life. This time he outwitted or outran them but the strain and the effort has been close to overwhelmingHe pants for water. No sipping, no little desire but a desperate and unquenchable thirst. He finds the stream and sinks his muzzle in the ice-cold water and swallows it down in big life-giving gulps.

The psalmist might have seen that from some high place, have seen the drama of it all and rejoiced at the escape and felt like rising to his feet and applauding. That’s the picture the psalmist paints for us in Psalm 42:1. “As the deer pants for the flowing stream so my soul longs after you.”

How could he not be thrilled at the “great escape”? Did it not remind him of the days when he was pursued long and hard, like a frightened deer, a period in his life when he heard the ‘dogs’? There he was, hemmed in by circumstances beyond his control, his strength almost gone, his friends not within reach, the effort to stay on his feet having drained him and driven him to the edge of the abyss. He must find GOD. “My soul thirsts for God, the living God. When shall I come and behold the face of God? My tears have been my food day and night, while men say to me continually, ‘Where is your God?’” [42.2]
As the deer at the limit of his endurance instinctively knows he must find water so this little human knows he must find God for it’s only in God he has reason to hope! He tests every offer of help with the question: “Will it help me to find God?”

“Here, here is good advice and counsel.”
Will it help me to find God?

“Here, here is an offer of friendship.”
Will it help me see the face of God?

“Here, here is a place you can run to.”
Will I find God there?

“Here, here is a book you should read, a movie you should see, a seminar you should attend, a habit you should develop.”
Will they bring me to God?

(Holy Father, help us to see you in the words. Help us to see you EVERYWHERE. Help us to WANT to see you everywhere. And though you are not far from any one of us sometimes we’re so tired and afraid that we feel the need of something more “face to face.” We’re giving you no ultimatums Holy One but so many things frighten us and take us to very dark places and in our weariness we need your nearer presence. We are brave, because you have made us brave and we see gallantry in so many fine people. But sometimes, don’t you know, we feel like just sitting down. This prayer we bring to you in Jesus Christ and by His Spirit.)

Acts: The Gospel of The Holy Spirit (Part 19)

Watch the latest video from McGuiggan Reflections.
For the next few months, we will be exploring the book of Acts in a series titled Acts: The Gospel of the Holy Spirit. We hope you enjoy and can benefit greatly from this study. To contact Jim, feel free to email him at holywoodjk@aol.com or visit his website at http://www.jimmcguiggan.com.
Watch on Youtube via IFTTT

MR. BOJANGLES

Who are these two in Acts 3:1-6? Indeed, they’re Peter & John.

Yes, but who are they? Who or what are they filled with? And if we know the answer to that what drives them? What “leaves them no choice” to engage in their commission and purpose in life? And if we know the answer to that, what will they offer the crippled beggar?
The beggar thought they were going to offer him money.

And we’re tempted to think they were offering him physical healing. There’s an element of truth in that, of course, but with the treasure they had to offer, to offer only that would have been robbery.

To physically heal him so he could dance joyfully would be no little thing but the years would go by and aging—the approach of Death—would enfeeble him and finally Death would rob him of his dancing. They didn’t want to give him less that joyful ‘dancing’ they wanted to give him more! They wanted to give him Jesus, immortality and the power and reason to dance even a world of pain. A dance that Death couldn’t end! They were offering him DEATHLESS LIFE as a gift from the Living Lord!

The government may provide health through medicine, good income through economic structures, national freedom through military might, education via educational systems and society may give us pleasure through movies, literature, partying, music, art and other fine things (and some not so fine). But Death trumps all these. Only the Lord God trumps Death and He shows that in Jesus of Nazareth who is now Lord of All and conqueror of Death (Acts 10:36; Hebrews 2:14-15). With HIM to offer, they couldn’t and wouldn’t offer less!
And in light of the Lord of Glory they offered him a new vision of the WORLD. His world had been a world of beggary and disease, rejection and helplessness and they offered him a new way of seeing it, a new way of experiencing it. It’s true there was still beggary, injustice and the poor; but now GOD was in it for him. And since God has no “pets” this man is an assurance that He sees all and cares for all of the helpless. God hasn’t died since Acts 3. They offered him a new experience of God! God as one who had heard his prayers, as One who saw his being carried every day and as One who heard his daily begging that had so little success that like many others he just uttered the words without looking (cf. 3:4). What they offered this man was an experience that really did change the world!
In Wasserman’s stage-play, the imprisoned Cervantes is mocked by a lawyer when he heard Cervantes was a poet. The sneering and “realistic” lawyer accused him of spinning nonsense out of nothing and said that people should “see life as it is.” Cervantes snarls back:
Life as it is. I’ve lived for over 40 years and I’ve seen life as it is.
Pain. Misery. Cruelty beyond belief.
I’ve heard all the voices of God’s noblest creatures. Moans from bundles of filth in the street.
I’ve been a soldier and a slave.
I’ve seen my comrades fall in battle or die more slowly under the lash in Africa.
I’ve held them in my arms at the final moment.
These were men who saw life as it is,
yet they died despairing. No glory, no brave last words,
only their eyes, filled with confusion, questioning “Why?”
I do not think they were asking why they were dying,
but why they had ever lived.
When life itself seems lunatic, who knows where madness lies?
Perhaps to be too practical is madness
To surrender dreams – -this may be madness;
to seek treasure where there is only trash.
Too much sanity may be madness!
And maddest of all—to see life as it is and not as it should be!

( Holy Father how vast is the host of suffering humans that were and are compelled by the savagery of life that they couldn’t and can’t take their eyes off “life as it is” for them? Only you know. They were never given an occasion to dance and still in their millions they can’t dance and hard people rule over them and won’t allow them to dance. One Mr. Bojangles and his lovely story doesn’t seem enough, surely it isn’t all you have to say; You will do what is right and beautiful. And so it is that even now I have seen some of them smile and dance even in a world of abuse and heartache and heartbreak. Did you do that?  Did you empower them to dance? Even though they don’t know it? I believe you did. Will you thrill us with the teachers the cripple met, won’t you thrill us with the Lord Jesus they gave to him and won’t you enrich and skill us so that we won’t offer people less than the joys of this life but more! Help us also to offer You and change someone’s world. This prayer in the Blessed Savior’s name, Jesus of Nazareth.)

Acts: The Gospel of The Holy Spirit (Part 18)

Watch the latest video from McGuiggan Reflections.
For the next few months, we will be exploring the book of Acts in a series titled Acts: The Gospel of the Holy Spirit. We hope you enjoy and can benefit greatly from this study. To contact Jim, feel free to email him at holywoodjk@aol.com or visit his website at http://www.jimmcguiggan.com.

Help us caption & translate this video!

https://ift.tt/2Y2iA1c
Watch on Youtube via IFTTT

“No Heartbeat!” Making it Easier to Kill?

https://www.lifesitenews.com/pulse/wapost-embryonic-heartbeats-really-just-the-electric-pulsing-of-what-will-become-a-fetuss-heart.

Maybe we should all stay silent and see how far these shrewd ones will go. You know, the way Great Britain [and the allies] did as they watched Hitler. 

“But of course such a thing couldn’t happen again. Not in a democracy.”

But that supposes it isn’t ALREADY HAPPENING. And it IS happening.

Already the little developing human baby is an offense because it EXISTS. It must be got rid of!

Now we won’t let a little developing human baby have a heart until we say so!

WHY do you suppose that such a LINGUISTIC issue would be raised? What GAIN is in view? Now this little unconscious developing human baby is an offense because it has a heartbeat. I suppose, in SOME way, it makes it easier to KILL the little unconscious offending human baby THAT NEEDS TO BE KILLED!

I wonder how soon the word “human” will be jettisoned since all human response is chemical reactions, electrical impulses and such? By and by we will be calling ourselves by another name. Biped Units perhaps.

This is not just one manifestation of a cultural shift—it’s one expression of our self-chosen alienation from the GOD and Father of the Lord Jesus who ALLOWED us to go our own way (Acts 14:16). And our own ways.
He has given us up to the evils we have chosen and are choosing  (Romans 1:24, 26, 28). The list of of markers that spell out our rejection of God (Romans 1:18–31) includes our creating gods and goddesses and our loss of “natural affection” (1:31). The word here does not deal with sexual perversion (that was mentioned earlier). Here it speaks for love of one’s own, the ones we would be expected to love, our families, our children & parents. The ESV renders it heartless.
The heartless! Let’s see: Here is a little unconscious developing human baby—one of us, one of our own, one of our family denied a heart by the…….heartless?

The new “gods” we have created (Romans 1) are really old gods and goddesses and we have created them for one purpose alone: to do our bidding, to give us what we want!  We will supply our own needs via the government structures we have built (see Genesis 11) and we have no need of GOD.
We have corrupted ourselves and the social and government structures we have created are corrupted; medicine is used (not only to good ends but) for brutal, cruel and heartless ends.  Brilliant physicists create atomic bombs, “wise” government officials hand down decisions and establish laws that prove destructive in out of the way places. Handfuls of men in high places exchange opinions about critical issues that none of them has a full understanding about and multiplied millions are ruinously affected. Schools are corrupted and skilled professors serve movements that are too far-reaching for the wise specialists to fully grasp and it’s only years later that the terrible damage is recognized and lamented. The “dabbers” stand in pulpits and behind lecterns parroting bits and pieces they read or heard and they do more damage than all the professional specialists.
All the skills and gifts God continues to give us (Acts 14:17) become tools in the service of corrupt and corrupting powers we have created and let loose and now don’t know how to control them.

Religion, a very old god, is corrupted and even Jesus Christ could not stop it as it spiraled its way into a deeper chasm.

Whatever else Christians should do, they shouldn’t reduce all this to cultural, social, legal, medical, or government shifts. The evils in our world are more evil than these. These are only the ulcers of an evil profoundly more vicious and evil than all these. In the words of One who knows He would say to His Father, “They just don’t know what they’ve done or what they are doing.”
And Christians who’ve made and our making our own contribution to the world’s sinfulness, we can repent but we are not to whimper or panic!
We can’t glory in ourselves but we must glory in HIM and the coming new world while we ask His enriching and strengthening grace and say: THUS SAITH THE LIVING LORD.

 

 

 

 

WHY 74 TIMES?

In the book of Ezekiel we hear God saying “That you may/will know that I am Yahweh (Lord) ” 74 times (on my count—it may be a few more; I blink and lose count). Averaging it out the phrase occurs about three times in every two chapters.

I have little interest at this point in questions of etymology or the origin of YHWH (Yahweh); that’s for the scholars if they’re still interested in that question. Just so you know I’m following those who claim it’s linked to “I Am” and should be understood as, “I will be Who I will be,”  or “I will be Who I show Myself to be.”

But in the end a word or a phrase (whatever its origin) means what a writer/speaker means it to mean and current context is king. And we also learn what a word means* by the company it keeps and the setting in which it often occurs. You expect to see “gentleness and kindness” together—the one suggests the presence of the other in a person, doesn’t it?! You’d be surprised to hear someone say, “She is a woman of integrity and uncertainty.” Why would you not be surprised at, “A woman of integrity and honesty,”? They go together; they suggest one another’s presence don’t they!

The name Yahweh (Lord, LORD in the KJV) carries different messages depending on context. It speaks of sovereign power in some contexts, of covenant faithfulness in others, of in-comparability in others. The word (Yahweh) designates God who makes Himself known in many ways depending on the situation or the relationship under consideration.

It doesn’t matter how the “name” originated! It may well be as some older scholars suggested that God refused to give Moses a “name”.  He didn’t want to be “pigeon-holed”. Imagine Moses saying, “Who are you?” and God saying, “I AM WHO I AM.” Exodus 3:13-14. Other gods and goddesses may have names but in one sense or another: the “UNKNOWN God (Acts 17:22-29) is “The God without a Name.” (At least until He took the name of Jesus of Nazareth.)

Okay I’m done with that—I didn’t intend to write it but I see no benefit in deleting it.

74 times in Ezekiel and by far most often immediately linked with destructive judgment that God claims HE carries out and He claims He does it “that you/they may know that I am the LORD.“ (He also takes responsibility for blessing that “You may know that I am the LORD (Yahweh).” 34:27, 30, 31 illustrate

Ezekiel 28:20-23; 30:10-19; 35:1-4 illustrate the point that He makes His name known in devastating judgments on the nations.

If OT critics wish to expose a God who orders and carries out what they call “genocide” or “infanticide” or “murderous cruelty” they don’t have to use a fine-toothed comb through the OT seeking out verses here and there. The prophets are saturated with God’s taking responsibility for destructive wars, famines and the like Amos 3:6b and context illustrates. If that offends us, it isn’t some verses here and there that offend—it’s the recurring speech of the entire Holy Scriptures—Ezekiel only being a particularly clear showing of that.

If we should say that these books and chapters and verses were lies, written by pagan-hearted, vicious writers and compilers of the (allegedly) Holy Bible, then we should be ashamed to go behind a lectern or into a pulpit with such a Bible in our hands. If what these critics say is true they’re honoring a Bible that teaches in the name of God what is no less than demonic and satanic. What else can it be if it does what they say it does?

My own sense of it is that the vast majority of those who are part of the evangelical believers aren’t aware of what is being said by these Bible-carrying critics who undermine the very Bible they carry. They get in the pulpit or behind a lectern meaning to and demonizing the OT (the OT in particular, but not without the NT) which they say praises and vindicates genocide and murderous cruelty. Still, they often choose bits from the OT and preach fine things from the suitable parts. This masks where their heads and hearts really are.

Instead of looking for a hermeneutical strategy that honors the God of the OT and the OT that proclaims that God they follow the path that one writer took in saying , “The Old Testament is a mill-stone around the neck of Christianity.” Ranting atheist, Richard Dawkins, must love these people and yet despise them for what he would regard as hypocrisy.

I mean to continue this and suggest a interpretive strategy that doesn’t demonize the Holy Scriptures or the God presented in them if it appears it’s thought worthwhile and God enables me.

  • We use the word MEAN or MEANS in numerous ways don’t we! “This means war.” Or, “What do you mean I didn’t repay you; why I…” etc.