Article 1

Parasol of True Worship: Your Divine Covering

Parasol of True Worship: Your Divine Covering

As we stated in our introductory article, a parasol protects us from the sun, and an umbrella protects us against rain. Though these two tools appear very similar, one is made of a more sturdy material than the other. This allows for two objectives to be accomplished by one simple design.

Worship Umbrella 6a In a similar way, our worship of God grants us a protective covering that allows us to linger in His holy presence and endure the various testings of our faith. Our worship is a single, divine design, but it accomplishes two very different goals in the life of the true believer. To linger in God’s presence worshiping Him does not require as hardy a spirit as does worshiping God through hardship. So, as we begin to look more closely at the various parts of a parasol and umbrella, you will begin to see and better understand how the true believer can utilize worship on a day-to-day basis — in all circumstances — thus allowing them to grow closer to God and endure the testing of their faith.

The tube and handle is where we will begin our study, as the tube is basically the “backbone” or main support system of this device. The handle is also an important part of this support system, as it allows the tool to be embraced and put to use. So, let’s take a closer look at these first two components of the parasol and umbrella.

The tube, or shaft, of this instrument is generally made from a lite metal alloy, generally aluminum, but it can also be made from various types of wood or bamboo. The idea is to give the parasol or umbrella a lite weight, yet sturdy, support system that will provide the stability that is needed while preventing the user from experiencing fatigue during use.

The handle of a parasol or umbrella can be made from a variety of materials, such as wood, plastic, or rubber, and they can come in diverse forms. A crook handle is most commonly used, but some types have handles that are straight or slightly curved. Whatever the handle type, its purpose is the same — to provide a comfortable way for the user to remain in control of the tool while it is in use. The truth of God’s incarnate Word, Jesus Christ, is both the tube (or shaft) and handle of the “parasol of true worship.”

Bible 11 You see, it is the truth of the divine Word of God (tube/shaft) that provides the support system needed to experience real, godly worship. Jesus Christ — God’s holy, living Word — must be at the center of our worship. Only He is holy enough to protect us while we linger in the presence of our holy Father (Romans 5:1-2; Ephesians 3:12; Colossians 3:16-17), or strong enough to help us endure the testing of our faith (Proverbs 30:5; John 16:33). It is Christ, alone, Who’s charge is lite enough to not be a burden to the true believer embracing Him (Matthew 11:30). It’s only by clinging to Christ (handle) that the true believer can gain access to the holy Father (John 14:6; 1 John 1:5-7) and remain at peace while sitting under the “canopy” of true worship (Psalm 4:8; Isaiah 26:3-4; John 14:27; Colossians 3:15).

The handle of a parasol or umbrella may be made from a variety of materials, and fashioned in diverse forms, but it is only by taking hold of the Gospel of Jesus Christ that we can sit in the shade of the “parasol of true worship.” It is only by seizing the truth of God’s divine Word, that we can remain in the presence of God unscathed by His righteousness; able to endure His divine tests. For a sinful creature cannot linger in the light of pure holiness, nor can the sinner be found faithful, worthy, and consecrated. It is only by God’s grace, and faith in Jesus Christ, that the unholy can be admitted into the presence of holiness.

As we prepare to examine the next few components from our “parasol of true worship,” I hope you will take the time to ponder how essential Jesus Christ — God’s incarnate Word — is to your life. I ask of you to consider how important God’s living Word is to you gaining access to God, and I pray you will discover the truth of God’s holy begotten Son and what that means to you becoming a true worshiper of the Father. Again, as we noted earlier the Scripture John 14:6, no unholy human can come before our holy Father to worship Him except by taking hold of the truth of Jesus Christ, His divine and incarnate Word.

Parasol of True Worship: Your Divine Covering by J.Scott Harden is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Based on a work at jasonmin.wordpress.com. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://www.jsnmin.org/.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

The “NIV” and “New International Version” trademarks are registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by International Bible Society. Use of either trademark requires the permission of International Bible Society.

If your church or organization would like to talk with J. Scott Harden about a speaking engagement, or a writing project, please get in touch with Mr. Harden through Jason MinistriesTwitter account or Facebook page.

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Part 2

A Special Commentary on True Faith

A Special Commentary on True Faith

Heaven Is For Real In Part One of this special post on true faith we talked of the Thomas Nelson publication, Heaven Is For Real (Book) and the recent movie by Sony/TriStar Pictures of the same name, Heaven Is For Real. The message being presented by both the book and the film is one that states that to have faith one must “see, and believe, like a child.” To which I argued that a real childlike faith comes from believing without seeing. As we continue this look at true faith, recall with me the story of the Apostle Thomas.

Shortly after the resurrected Lord Jesus had begun to appear before the other ten apostles, the Apostle Thomas had stated that unless he could see with his own eyes the resurrected Christ standing before him, and unless he could touch with his own hands the scars on Jesus’ body, that he would not believe what the other ten were telling him concerning God’s Son. The Apostle Thomas refused to have faith without hard evidence, so Christ gave it to him. Let’s read, together, the words from the beloved Apostle John as he retells the story of the Apostle Thomas’ doubt:

“Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, ‘We have seen the Lord!’ But he said to them, ‘Unless I see the nail marks in His hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe it.’ A week later His disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you!’ Then He said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; see My hands. Reach out your hand and put it into My side. Stop doubting and believe.’ Thomas said to Him, ‘My Lord and my God!’ Then Jesus told him, ‘Because you have seen Me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’” (John 20:24-29)

God’s blessing will not fill us by basing our faith on evidence, but by simply believing. Our hope comes to us through God’s promises. Those promises are fulfilled in Jesus Christ, and it doesn’t just concern forgiveness of sins or eternal life. It concerns all areas of our faith — all acts of worship.

Missionaries who have surrendered to God’s calling to take His Gospel message to all parts of the earth — these men, women, and family units are placing their physical health and wellbeing on the line for the sake of fulfilling God’s plan for them. Yes, they are ignoring the physical dangers of this world for the sake of Christ’s call to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19-20a) No, they are not listening to the “seeing is believing” Christians who would tell them to consider the safety of their own lives first, or to consider the safety of their family’s lives. No, they are simply answering a call to be faithful in what God is telling them to do, and to trust that God has their best interest in mind.

A Study of Abundant Faith and Deadly Fiction

A Study of Abundant Faith and Deadly Fiction

And God’s best interest for humanity is not based on “creature comforts,” nor is God concerned with physical abundance in the areas of physical wealth, pleasure, and power. God’s good news is not a “Prosperity Gospel,” nor is it a “Poverty Gospel” — No! God’s Gospel message is one of provision. Meeting our physical and spiritual needs on a daily basis. This creates a relationship between Creator God and created humanity.

You see, God is more concerned with the eternal plan that He has for each of us. An eternal plan to see us prosper spiritually and not be harmed. Eternal plans that will give mankind hope and a real, eternal future. (Jeremiah 29:11) Our fallen and imperfect bodies are meant for death. To try to save them while denying the opportunity to fulfill God’s plan is ridiculous. Yes, we have a responsibility to remain as healthy and well as we can be, but only to serve God’s purpose. We — our entire being (body, mind, and soul) — belong to God, and what He has planed for us must come first. Remember these words of Christ:

“Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One Who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. ‘Whoever acknowledges Me before men, I will also acknowledge him before My Father in heaven. But whoever disowns Me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.’” (Matthew 10:28-33)

Some of you are aware that I am fighting a high staged colon cancer, and that I have opted to do so through diet, natural supplements, and naturopathic treatments. I have chosen to do so, not because of personal preference, or fear of conventional treatments (a.k.a.: chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery), but because God has led me down this path and I want to be faithful to act upon His calling. I have done so to the sounds of criticism and fear, which come from many people; some of whom are family members and others I count as friends.

I understand that much of this comes from their love and concern for me, and their love and concern for my wife and children. But what is so frustrating to me, is that the majority of these who are judging and being critical of my choice to follow God’s course claim to be believers in Christ. Some even serve in a church as a full-time minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. A career choice that is based on the entire premiss of following the calling that God has placed upon them. Yet, as I have stepped out in faith to serve God through this trial and test, I have been met with opposition and, at times, halfhearted support. Is not God the author of all of life? Is not God capable to see His purpose fulfilled in each of us? Are we not to step out in our faith and act upon it? Conventional medicine may play its part at some point, but only if God gives me, my wife, and kids clear direction.

Bible 13 James, the half-brother of Jesus Christ had this to say, “What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, ‘Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” (James 2:14-17) How can we claim faith in Christ and not answer God’s call to fulfill His plan? No matter the situation; in all areas of our lives. How can we claim the hope of Christ if we constantly fear the things of this world? How can we expect to see Jesus welcome us into eternity if we do not allow eternity to exist in our own lives today — now — while we can still testify to others of Christ’s Gospel message?

The “evidence of things not seen” is not in a story such as Colton Burpo’s, and it’s not in acquiring physical wealth, pleasure, or power and claiming God’s blessings as a result. No! Such evidence of our faith is in our deeds — our obedience and our sacrifices. We must live a life that reflects Christ. We must live a life that acts on its faith, and its hope (2 Corinthians 13:5). We must be Christlike in all areas of our existence — the physical, the mental, and the spiritual. This is the life of a true worshiper of God.

If you claim to be a Christian — a Christ follower — and you cannot claim such faith as I have just described, then consider that you are possibly not a true believer. If you work in a church, serve in a church, or attend a church weekly and yet doubt any part of the holy Scripture’s teachings — needing evidence and proof before you can fully say you believe — then stop calling yourself a pastor, worship leader, teacher, or follower of Christ. Resign yourself to become a student of the Holy Bible — the very Word of God — until such a time as your “faith” can became real to you through your actions, and not through sight. A true worshiper of God is called to “deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me [Jesus Christ]. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for Me will find it.” (Matthew 16:24b-25) The cross is an instrument of pain, torture, and death. It’s not a symbol of blessing, comfort, or peace even though it is because Christ willingly endured the pain, torture, and death of the cross that we can have the assurance of God’s blessing, comfort, and peace (John 10:18).

Taking up the cross of Christ means we must expect to endure pain in this life; to be tortured from time-to-time in some way or fashion (1 Peter 4:12-14). And we must embrace the truth that death — physical death, anyway — awaits us all, but not before God says so. It is God Who has numbered our days (Job 14:5; Psalm 139:16). God will keep us here until He has made us as Christlike as He possibly can (Psalm 138:8; 2 Corinthians 3:18; Philippians 2:13), then the hope of our faith will become reality for all of eternity.

Santa Claus 1 In closing recall with me theses words from the publisher of the book Heaven Is for Real. Thomas Nelson claims that this book will “forever change the way you think of eternity, offering the chance to see, and believe, like a child.” What child has ever seen Santa Claus deliver his/her toys at Christmas and believed? What child has ever seen the Easter Bunny, the Tooth-fairy, or any other fictional character and then believed. Children trust what their parents tell them — blindly believing that what is being said is the truth. Colton Burpo didn’t believe because he saw heaven. Colton believed because his father, the Rev. Todd Burpo, taught him concerning our hope of heaven in Christ. Colton only saw what he already believed to be true. What he saw simply further confirmed his faith.

Todd Burpo, however (and his congregation), were the ones who began to truly believe in the hope of Christ because a child saw, and continued to believe. Children don’t have to see to believe. This is what Jesus was trying to teach in Mark, chapter ten. It’s the point that the Apostle Thomas — and so many others since — missed, altogether. Read with me these verses, written by John Mark:

“People were bringing little children to Jesus to have Him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, He was indignant. He said to them, ‘Let the little children come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone [any adult] who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.’ And He took the children in His arms, put His hands on them and blessed them.” (Mark 10:13-16)

Do you really want to forever change the way you think of eternity? Then stop living your life from an earthly stand point and start believing and living like a child (2 Corinthians 4:18; 1 Peter 1:3-16). Begin worshiping God in your deeds and not just in your words (Colossians 3:17). If you choose to do so, you will experience the freedom and the joy that comes from “blind faith” — a true childlike faith in Jesus Christ. After all, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:29b)

Heaven Is For Real by J.Scott Harden is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at jasonmin.wordpress.com.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://www.jsnmin.org/.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

The “NIV” and “New International Version” trademarks are registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by International Bible Society. Use of either trademark requires the permission of International Bible Society.

Heaven Is For Real” © 2010 by Todd Burpo & Lynn Vincent

All rights reserved. The brief information quoted from this book’s press release appears curtesy of Thomas Nelson, Inc. and Christianbook.Com.

Published in Nashville, Tennessee, by Thomas Nelson. Thomas Nelson is a registered trademark of Thomas Nelson, Inc.

Thomas Nelson, Inc., titles may be purchased in bulk for educational, business, fund-raising, or sales promotional use. For information, please e-mail SpecialMarkets@ThomasNelson.com.

Movie trailer made available by Jason Ministries, and Sony/TriStar Pictures; Copyright © 2014

If your church or organization would like to talk with J. Scott Harden about a speaking engagement, or a writing project, please get in touch with Mr. Harden through Jason MinistriesTwitter account or Facebook page.

Article 7

Living Your True Purpose (Header)

Living Your True Purpose (Article 7)Thy Word, by CCM artist Amy Grant, was one of three singles released in 1984 off of the Straight Ahead project. Bible 14 Straight Ahead was Amy’s final project with her original label, Myrrh Records, before signing with A&M Records.

The song, Thy Word, is based on Psalm 119:105 which reads, “Your Word [God’s Word] is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.”

God has promised us, all through out the Scriptures, that He would never leave us, nor would He forget about us (Deuteronomy 31:6; Hebrews 13:5b). The fact that God gave us Christ, Immanuel [God with us], as a sacrifice for our sins and a way to receive forgiveness is proof positive that God fulfills His promises (John 3:16-17). Christ also promised the Holy Spirit of God would dwell with each of us who believe and be a source of peace, strength, and be our intercessor (John 16:5-11; Romans 8:26-27). Yet another promise fulfilled. The Holy Bible, God’s written Word, is also another fulfilled promise that God will be with us.

You see, just as Jesus was given to us as a way to return to God’s presence, and just as the Holy Spirit was given to abide in our soul, so too was God’s Word given in written form to teach us, guide us, and grow us to be more like Him. How do we do this? By spending time reading it, studying it, and applying what you have learned.

Like anything worth doing in life, if you don’t spend real time getting involved with it then you will rob yourself of the opportunity it presents you. God’s Word is alive (Hebrews 4:12) and gives mankind access to the heart and mind of God. Through the Scriptures we learn of our sinfulness, God’s holiness, and how the two can be reconciled. The Gospel message — the “Good News” from God — was written down so that humanity could learn about God’s original purpose for us, and learn about why God sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, and so we could know how to be reconciled to God, through Christ. In fact, when you spend time in God’s Word you are spending time with Christ, Himself, because Jesus is the very Word of God revealed to us in the flesh. Read with me these words from the Gospel of John:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made. In Him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through Him, the world did not recognize Him. He came to that which was His own, but His own did not receive Him. Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God — children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John testifies concerning Him. He cries out, saying, ‘This was He of whom I said, He who comes after me has surpassed me because He was before me.’ From the fullness of His grace we have all received one blessing after another. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made Him known.” (John 1:1-18)

Now you know why the Word of God is alive, because it is Christ and He is alive!

So, as we reflect on living our true purpose, let’s not forget to spend time with God by reading through, and studying, the very Word of God — Jesus Christ. We can never hope to be true worshipers of God until we do. For just as our physical bodies need nourishment and sustenance, so too do our souls. Christ is that nourishment that grows our spirit; Christ is that sustenance that satisfies our soul. Scripture calls us to open the holy book and to “taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8); let’s sit at the table God has called us to and feast upon His Word — Jesus Christ.

Now that we know Who the Word of God is, let’s reflect again on Psalm 119:105, “Your Word [Your only begotten Son, Jesus Christ] is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” Let Christ guide your life as you journey to become a true worshiper of God.

Living Your True Purpose by J. Scott Harden is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at jasonmin.wordpress.com.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://www.jsnmin.org.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

The “NIV” and “New International Version” trademarks are registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by International Bible Society. Use of either trademark requires the permission of International Bible Society.

Thy Word lyrics and music written by Michael Whitaker Smith and Amy Grant-Gill. Copyright © 1984, 2007 Myrrh Records (a division of Word Entertainment) and EMI/Sparrow Records.

Video made available by Jason Ministries, and Word Entertainment LLC; Copyright © 2006 All Rights Reserved.

If your church or organization would like to talk with J. Scott Harden about a speaking engagement, or a writing project, please get in touch with Mr. Harden through Jason MinistriesTwitter account or Facebook page.

Conclusion

Truth or Dare (Intro)

Cup 1 In this study, called Truth or Dare, we have been examining the various chalices that mankind may choose to drink from while searching out eternal life. We have explored seven of the more poisonous libations found in the world’s chalices, and compared them to the life giving liquid that exists in the cup of Christ.

The first three chalices were filled with three very similar toxicants:

Physical Wealth

Physical Power

Physical Pleasure

These three particular vices, we discovered, are very closely linked because any one of them will aid us in acquiring any one, or all, of the others listed.

In other words, if I were to suddenly become a billionaire, and had access to more physical wealth than any one person could spend in a lifetime, then I could use my money to acquire positions of power over others and enjoy any physical pleasure my mind could conceive. Also, if I managed to gain a position of power first, then I could begin to use my influence to gain the monetary wealth I desired and consume the pleasures of my worldly heart. Then again, if one intently chased after the numerous pleasures that this world has to offer, that overwhelming desire to find satisfaction in such things could goad one along until they were wealthy enough or powerful enough to access them.

Physical wealth, power, and pleasure — all three available to humanity. All three are a part of our human condition, but all three can be very toxic and deadly if consumed from Satan’s chalice. As each of these three articles showed, it’s only when we quench our thirst for physical wealth, power, and pleasure from the “cup of Christ” that we can really be satisfied and escape their harmful side effects. Poison 3 Why? Well, just like with any hard drink if you don’t regulate how much you consume (either by drinking very little of it or by “watering” it down) the potency of that beverage will eventually overtake you. In Christ’s cup, all of our natural, physical desires become mixed with spiritual living water — God’s divine “fruit of the vine” — the holy, blameless blood of Jesus Christ. Consuming this recipe ensures us of life; life filled with an abundance of real joy.

In the three articles that followed physical wealth, power, and pleasure, we discovered that there were other dangerous drinks awaiting our consumption. The three additional toxicants examined were:

Religion

Philosophy

Knowledge

Within these three special vices we saw traces of the first three toxins, but also examined some very dangerous ideologies specific to each of these issues.

For example, from within religion, philosophy, and knowledge you can find traces of our desire for physical power. Humanity’s lust for control will drive mankind to abuse their search for spiritual guidance, mental peace, and understanding of all things spiritual and physical. Thus the resulting concoctions reveal a variety of poisonous drinks, as false or legalistic religions appear, worldly ideologies that promote self-centeredness become our focus, and empty teachings that lack the wisdom of God ultimately destroy our lives.

Then our final article disclosed the main ingredient, the base substance, mixed into each drink served up in the chalice of Satan. What’s this staple element of potency? Selfishness. No matter what drink Satan chooses to tempt you with, it will always be heavily lined with a huge portion of selfishness.

Selfishness is the one ingredient certain to remove our gaze from God and His statutes, and place them inward towards our own desires and wants. As long as we continue to over indulge in the libation of selfishness, then Satan knows we will never successfully surrender our lives over to God (Proverbs 18:1; Romans 2:8; James 3:16). Yahweh will never be respected as our sovereign Creator, Jesus will never truly be our Lord, and the Holy Spirit will never really be our guide.

Humanity, as we stated in our introductory article, has a choice. We can embrace the dares that Satan dictates to us, and then experience eternal death, or we can choose to embrace God’s truth, and live forever.

Drunkeness 1 By drinking from Satan’s chalice, our spiritual senses become dulled, forcing us to look death in the face and act as if nothing is wrong; as if all is right and normal. Those that make this choice act on the lie that truth is relevant to their own wants and desires. They accept Satan’s lie that says absolute truth is really the biggest falsehood of the ages. The one really big problem with that — you can’t make the truth go away, and escape it’s consequences, by simply choosing to not believe in it. Famed American science-fiction author Philip K. Dick acknowledged this when he said, “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.”

Merriam-Webster defines the chalice as a: (noun) a drinking cup — goblet. Wikipedia says a chalice is “a goblet or footed cup intended to hold a drink. In general . . . it is intended for drinking during a ceremony.” Most chalices are formed from a precious metal or made of crystal, then they are lined with precious stones and jewels. The reason is they are meant to “wow” and impress people. These aren’t cups for every day use. These are special vessels meant to be used for special occasions.

The term “poisoned chalice” exists, because somewhere in human history someone figured out that the glitz and the glamour of these goblets, used during a celebration or feast, is so distracting that no one would ever consider questioning the liquid being served in it. Today this term is applied to a thing or a situation which appears to be good, at first, but when it is received or experienced it becomes, or is eventually found to be, dangerous. This is why I refer to the lies humanity receives from Satan as a “chalice filled with poison.”

Scripture also compares the truth of God and the lies of Satan as drinks to be consumed by us. Paul wrote these words to the church in Corinth, “You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too.” (1 Corinthians 10:21a) Real truth can only be consumed from the “cup of Christ.” Why? First, because Jesus spoke of Himself as being real truth (John 1:17, 14:6, 18:37) and second, because Christ calls us to consume His truth from His cup (John 4:1-26, 6:53, 7:37-38; 1 Corinthians 10:16).

People cannot find the way to experiencing everlasting life by partaking of any old drink from within any old vessel. Not even if the world decorates their vessels with precious metals, stones, and jewels. No matter how much gold and silver is shaped and formed; no matter how many fine and rare stones or jewels adorn the chalice, it won’t make the poison in it any safer for our consumption.

Cup 9 Christ’s cup appears simple. It’s not adorned with fancy jewels and other distractions. The “cup of Christ” is plain, understated, and accessible to all. Christ’s cup is absent of fancy decor, because it’s not the drink of selfish, pious, and pompous people. Christ’s cup is to be consumed by the selfless, sincere, and humble human. Men and women capable of surrendering their lives to God, in exchange for the substance that grants them eternal life — the blood of Christ. It’s only by drinking in the sufferings of Jesus — now, in this physical world — that we can be allowed access to the wondrous inheritance of God’s Son.

I’ll close with this thought concerning mankind’s endless search for truth and eternal life. It will require us to return to the chamber of the Holy Grail, that we spoke of in our introductory article. As we all stand there, contemplating the various chalices we could drink from, remember this phrase — low probability verses high impact.

No matter how many religions, doctrines, philosophies, ideologies, and studies perk your interests and pleasure your spirit, consider the probability of their being true verses God’s Word being true. Consider the impact these religions, doctrines, philosophies, ideologies, and studies will have on your eternal soul verses the impact that God will have on your soul. If you believe there is at least a one percent probability that, when you die, you will be judged by this holy God spoken of in the Holy Bible, and in this series, then you had better seriously consider the cup of Christ. It only requires that you look past the glitz and the glamour of all the other chalices in the chamber, and (as the guardian said) choosing your cup wisely.

Truth or Dare by J. Scott Harden is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://www.jasonmin.wordpress.com.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

The “NIV” and “New International Version” trademarks are registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by International Bible Society. Use of either trademark requires the permission of International Bible Society.

If your church or organization would like to talk with J. Scott Harden about a speaking engagement, or a writing project, please get in touch with Mr. Harden through Jason MinistriesTwitter account or Facebook page.

Article V, part 2

Truth or Dare (Article 5)

In our last article we began looking into the three main philosophies prevalent in the world today (Theism, Pantheism, and Atheism). We also looked at several of the worldviews directly connected to the three main philosophies Philosophy 5 (Biblical Theism, Monadic Monotheism, Eastern Mysticism, Spiritism, Occultism, Darwinism, Secular Humanism, and Existentialism). We also mentioned briefly about the multitude of ideologies in existence today, as a result of the three main philosophies being blended together. So many, in fact, that they were too numerous to list in our post, though we named a few.

In this article we will be tackling the issue of truth, where wisdom is concerned. We will attempt to show you why it is only the philosophy of Biblical Theism that can connect the human mind to the truth, because it’s only God’s wisdom that is truth. So for the next few moments let’s avoid pondering past the truth God has laid out before us, in His Word, and let’s open our minds up to the message of wisdom He has waiting for us to learn.

Scripture promises that if we ask for wisdom, God will give it to us (James 1:5). If we truly desire wisdom, and we all should, then we have only to ask. With God’s wisdom we find knowledge and understanding (Proverbs 2:6). Sir Isaac Newton, a devout Christian, became one of the most influential minds of his time in the fields of mechanics, mathematics, optics, philosophy, and physics. In fact, Sir Isaac Newton is regarded to this day as one of the most influential scientists of all time, and a key figure in the scientific revolution. There are others, as well.

Robert Boyle, was a biblical theist who became known for his advancements in the fields of chemistry, natural philosophy, physics, and theology. He is best known today as one of the pioneers of the modern experimental scientific method and “Boyle’s Law,” which states that the outcome of pressure and volume is continuous for a given mass of enclosed gas as long as the temperature is unchanged.

There is also Johannes Kepler, who was another key figure of the scientific revolution. This God fearing man is primarily remembered for his contributions in the fields of mathematics and astronomy. Mr. Kepler is best known, today, for his eponymous laws of planetary motion, which became codified by later astronomers.

And let’s not forget Galileo Galilei, a major influence regarding the scientific revolution. Galileo Galilei This biblical theist is remembered for his stellar contributions in the fields of astronomy, mathematics, philosophy, and physics. To this day, it is Galileo that academia considers to be the “father” of modern observational astronomy, modern science, and physics.

There are many more godly men listed in the annals of philosophy and science. Far too many to include in this post, but the point is this: modern science was revolutionized because these four very devout men dedicated themselves to pursuing God’s wisdom. The result was God’s revelation of knowledge and understanding in the areas of astronomy, chemistry, mechanics, mathematics, optics, philosophy, physics, and theology.

Certainly the non-believers of many fields have made significant discoveries too, but it’s not because they did so on their own merit. Both believers and non-believers are instruments of God’s work. Given to knowledge and understanding because the Spirit of God chose to reveal such things to the world through them. Note this passage of Scripture from the Apostle Paul, written in his first letter to the people of Corinth:

“However, as it is written: ‘No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him’ — but God has revealed it to us by His Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. We [the believer] have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man’s judgment: ‘For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him [mankind]?’ But we [the believer] have the mind of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 2:9-16)

In short, what Paul was communicating is this — all the things that mankind knows of has been made known to him by the Spirit of God. It’s only the true worshipers of the Almighty that are allowed to understand where this wisdom has come from and how that knowledge is related to God’s purpose for humanity. A non-believer may tap into this knowledge from time-to-time, as the Spirit of God allows, but he will not see it as divinely given and will not understand how God has purposed it for mankind and God’s glory.

So how does this godly form of knowledge and understanding produce assurance, and peace of mind? Wisdom 2 By the fact that true, godly wisdom is divine, and not from the mind of humanity. You see, God’s wisdom is pure, peace-loving, considerate, submissive to the Almighty, full of mercy and beneficial to humanity, as well as impartial and sincere (James 3:17). God’s knowledge and understanding is true wisdom, because our Creator is all knowing and all understanding (Job 12:13, 36:5; Psalm 147:5; Proverbs 2:6; Isaiah 40:28; Daniel 2:20; Romans 11:33, 16:25-27), and mankind’s wisdom isn’t and can’t ever be.

Can you begin to see the logic behind why God’s wisdom is true wisdom? God is perfect, without flaw, but humanity is not perfect — humanity is flawed. Mankind does not know all there is to know, but God does. We cannot know true wisdom on our own, because we are the product of a rebellious choice (Genesis 3:1-24). A choice that removed us from God’s divine nature. Our rebellious spirit is equal to that of an occultic, black-hearted witch (1 Samuel 15:23). How can a rebellious creature, prone to doing evil, ever know the pure and perfect wisdom of its Creator? It can’t unless the knowledge and understanding that it seeks is given to it by the Creator, Himself. Whether that wisdom is of a scientific nature or of a spiritual nature, if wisdom is to be valid, right, and true then it must come from God.

An example of God’s Spirit revealing spiritual wisdom to humanity is found in the life of the Apostle Peter, as told in the Gospel of Matthew, chapter sixteen. Jesus was talking with His disciples about who the people of Israel thought He was. Several answers came back to Him from His followers, but none where correctly identifying Jesus as the appointed Messiah. So, Christ looks to the hearts of His chosen twelve, and asks them, “Who do you say I am?” (Matthew 16:15b) It’s Simon Peter who responds, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16:16b) Jesus then tells Peter, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but of my Father in heaven.” (Matthew 16:17) So even the revelation of Jesus Christ, as the Messiah, cannot be known merely by reading the Scriptures and knowing the prophecies unless God allows our “eyes to see,” our “ears to hear,” and our “minds to conceive.”

Still not convinced that all wisdom is from God? That it’s His wisdom that leads to real knowledge and understanding? Maybe the logic behind the perfection of divine wisdom verses the fallacy of humanity’s makes sense to you, but it’s the citing of Scripture that leaves you lacking. After all, the Holy Bible isn’t the only source of divine wisdom — is it? Actually it is, and I’ll explain why.

Though many of the world’s religions have their holy writings, none of these books bare the actual Word of God. The Vedas, and the Upanishads of the Hindu faith were all written by men trying to explain the wisdom of their enlightenment, as it relates to the “universal spirit.” The Qur’an was written by a man trying to explain the wisdom of his divine god, Allah, but it’s only the Holy Bible that holds the actual divinely inspired message of the Almighty to humanity (2 Timothy 3:16-17). How can we know that these holy writings are the very Word of God? There are many validations of the holy Scriptures.

The Holy Bible was written by approximately forty different men, all of them inspired by God, over a period that spans over fifteen-hundred years. Bible 7 The inerrant spiritual and physical truths contained within its sixty-six books are evidences of this, but before we accept this as truth we’ll need to understand the meanings of the words “inerrancy” and “inspired.”

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the word “inerrancy” as: (noun) exemption from error; infallible. So for the Holy Bible to be inerrant it must be without flaw — perfect. As we have already stated, only something divine can be infallible. So, since we know people wrote the holy Scriptures, and since we know people are not perfect, the only way the Holy Bible could be inerrant is if God’s Spirit moved in these men and inspired them to write.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the word “inspired” as: (adjective) outstanding or brilliant in a way or to a degree suggestive of divine [godly] inspiration. Did you get that? Something inspired is literally a work that is influenced by divinity. When these forty men began to write the holy Scriptures, they were moved by the Spirit of God to communicate His inerrant spiritual and physical truths (2 Peter 1:21). Not all Scripture is a direct recording of God’s message to mankind, in fact most of Scripture is a composition of God’s message, but all of Scripture is an outstanding and brilliant account of the Word of God.

O.K., so the original writings were inerrant and inspired, but what about the fact that the original Scriptures are no longer in existence? Are the copies on file today trust worthy? Yes, and I’ll show you why. First, though, we must note that none of the original ancient writings being studied today are in existence. Plato’s writings, the works of Herodotus, the writings of Caesar and Tacitus, even those of William Shakespeare are no longer around. All we have to go by are the copies that were created, and most of them are no longer available. Only seven of Plato’s writings are on file; with Herodotus we only have eight. William Shakespeare’s folio contains about two-hundred and thirty-eight copies, but when it comes to the holy Scriptures we have over ten-thousand copies of the Old Testament texts and nearly twenty-five thousand copies of the New Testament texts.

So what makes these numerous copies of the Holy Bible so special? Well, the fact that these many copies on file are within only a few hundred years of the original writings is pretty amazing. Copies of Plato’s writings are nearly one-thousand years removed from their original compositions, as are the vast majority of the ancient manuscripts still on file. And as far as inconsistencies are concerned, the Holy Bible is considered by experts to be ninety-five percent accurate. What of that five percent? Experts agree that these inconsistencies are only regarding spelling and conjunctions, and none of what is in question has altered the facts and meanings of the overall texts.

There are other evidences, too. Such as the prophecies mentioned and fulfilled within its sixty-six books. bible 2 These prophecies aren’t general predictions either. The holy Scriptures make very specific and detailed forecasts concerning a variety of specified individuals, nations, and events. The Qur’an doesn’t do this, and neither do any other religious writings. In fact, all other religious prophecies made in any other spiritual composition only deals in very generalized guesses. It’s only in the Holy Bible that you find such intentional forecasts, and most were predicted hundreds of years before their occurrences, but all the fulfilled prophecies can be historically verified.

The holy Scriptures also contain a unified message regarding humanity’s need for redemption. As stated earlier, despite its having been written by forty or so authors over a span of fifteen-hundred years, the Holy Bible consistently deals with this theme of redemption. We see in the Old Testament writings the issue of humanity’s fall from God’s grace, the prophecies regarding mankind’s salvation, and predictions of God’s judgment for the non-believing world. Then in the New Testament we see the messianic prophecies fulfilled and further prophecies of God’s judgment for non-believers laid out. Other religious documents are not nearly so consistent, and most of them were written by only one author (example: the Qur’an, the Book of Mormon, etc.).

There’s also archeological evidence that helps to validate the historical accuracy of the holy texts. A vast amount of historical locations, names, and events have been confirmed by archeologists who have used Scripture as a sort of road map into history. One such archeologist/biblical investigator, named Bob Cornuke, has used the Holy Bible to discover strong evidence as to the true location of Noah’s ark. A piece of what appeared to be petrified wood was removed from the site, located in Iran, and analyzed by the University of Cambridge. The analysis came back stating that the subject was a petrified piece of unknown wood, and that it had been coated in some sort of pitch to make it waterproof, and that there was evidence of fossilized marine life found, too. He’s also found compelling evidence regarding the location of the real Mt. Sinai, and Mr. Cornuke has even unearthed an incredible amount of evidence concerning where the Israelites crossed through the Red Sea.

The science of astronomy also validates Scripture. Long before Copernicus, Plato, or Pythagoras ever began to discover that the earth was round, Scripture was already telling us it was (Job 26:10; Isaiah 40:22). In Job chapter twenty-six, verse seven, we read that God “suspends the earth over nothing,” which indicates the fact that our planet free-floats in space. The Scriptures declare time-and-again that the universe is ever expanding (Job 37:18; Isaiah 40:22; Jeremiah 10:12), which is exactly what the astronomers of the 1920s discovered. These and other astronomical evidences found through out the Holy Bible are proof of its inerrancy and inspiration. After all, how else would the authors of these Old Testament texts know of such things thousands of years before the science of astronomy was founded, unless they were told by God.

There are other evidences to support the infallible spiritual and physical truths found in the holy Scriptures, such as in biological science (we’ll get into this more deeply in Article Six), and the process in which its sixty-six book were canonized. Also how quickly the message of the New Testament was embraced as fact, due to the over five-hundred “eye witnesses” still living when the writings began to appear (1 Corinthians 15:3-8). All were able to help deny or validate any-and-all stories being told concerning the teachings of Christ.

There are also the internal claims made through out the texts. Some we have already named, but the claims most compelling are the verses that teach on the deity of Christ (Proverbs 8:22-36). Christ in Clouds Why? Because it is Jesus, the Christ, who is the very Word of God (Isaiah 55:11). The book we call the Holy Bible isn’t merely inerrant and inspired to teach us of God’s divine wisdom, but to actually give us a direct connection to God’s living, divine wisdom — His very own begotten Son. It is Jesus, the Christ, who God spoke through to make all of creation (Proverbs 8:30; John 1:1-3; Colossians 1:16). It is Jesus, the Christ, that God made into a man to live among humanity as His example of perfection (John 1:14). It is Jesus, the Christ, who sacrificed Himself so that we could be reconciled to God, and it is Jesus, the Christ, who conquered death so that all who believe could live forever (John 3:16-17).

Without Jesus Christ there is no holy text; there is no knowledge and understanding, and there is no peace in wisdom, because without Jesus Christ there can be no philosophy — only foolishness.

“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.’ Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know Him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength. Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things — and the things that are not — to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before Him. It is because of Him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God — that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: ‘Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.’” (1 Corinthians 1:18-31)

Truth or Dare by J. Scott Harden is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://www.jasonmin.wordpress.com.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

The “NIV” and “New International Version” trademarks are registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by International Bible Society. Use of either trademark requires the permission of International Bible Society.

If your church or organization would like to talk with J. Scott Harden about a speaking engagement, or a writing project, please get in touch with Mr. Harden through Jason MinistriesTwitter account or Facebook page.

Article I, part 2

It is said that art imitates life, and I certainly believe that statement is true, thus my constant reference to various songs, TV shows, and movies. So as we continue this further look into the dangers we face when we drink from the chalice of wealth, instead of drinking from the cup of Christ, let’s consider the story from a popular American movie from the year 1987. It was released by 20th Century Fox, and was about monetary wealth, and all that encompasses it, both good and bad. The film was entitled Wall Street.

This dramatic film, starring Michael Douglas, Charlie Sheen, and Daryl Hannah, was intended by the director, Oliver Stone, to be a tribute to his father, Lou Stone, who had been a stockbroker back in the time of the Great Depression. The plot centers on Bud Fox, played by Charlie Sheen, a young stockbroker desperate to succeed on Wall Street. Mr. Fox becomes entangled with his hero, one Gordon Gekko, played by Michael Douglas, a wealthy, unscrupulous corporate raider. Bud, who was taught by his father (Carl Fox, played by Charlie’s real life father, Martin Sheen) that success was achieved through work and providing something of value, begins to embrace Mr. Gekko’s mantra that success is accomplished by speculating on the goods and services of others.

Throughout this movie, Bud gets deeper and deeper into the corporate greed that Mr. Gekko has exposed him to. Mr. Fox comes to enjoy all the perks that Gordon Gekko promised him, including one beautiful, blonde, trophy-girlfriend named Darien Taylor, played by Daryl Hannah, but as he begins his ascent up the corporate ladder his activities are noticed by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (the United States Securities and Exchange Commission’s was created in 1934 by Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt to regulate the stock market and prevent corporate abuses relating to the offering and sale of securities and corporate reporting. The SEC, as it became known as, was given the power to license and regulate stock exchanges, the companies whose securities traded on them, and the brokers and dealers who conducted the trading).

The plot comes to climax when Bud is deceived by Gordon, concerning a deal to buy and expand his father’s company, Bluestar Airlines. It is Mr. Gekko’s real intent, to sell Carl Fox’s company off piece-by-piece, but Bud work’s out an alternate plan of his own — his plan will drive up the stock on Bluestar Airlines and force Gordon Gekko to lose interest in the company. Mr. Fox’s plan works, but shortly after succeeding he is arrested by the SEC for insider trading and loses everything, including Darien, his trophy-girlfriend.

Bud realizes all too late what his greed had done to him; what it had cost him. Choosing to strike a deal with the SEC for a lesser sentence, Mr. Fox becomes an informer in a trap the SEC is setting for Mr. Gekko. The trap is successful and Gordon Gekko is severely sentenced, while Bud Fox accepts, with a clear conscience, his lesser sentence; ready to make right his wrongs and start over.

This story is a powerful picture of what can happen when monetary wealth is given full control of our lives. It paints a dark and vulgar image of just how really destructive money can be, when it is worshiped as an all-mighty god, either knowingly or unknowingly. This position of leadership, this place of sovereignty over our lives, was never meant to be occupied by anyone, or anything, other than our Creator — the Lord Jesus Christ.

In Scripture, money is one of the most talked about subjects there is. In fact, the subject of monetary wealth is discussed more times in the Bible than the subjects of faith, prayer, and Hell. Money is important. If Scripture makes approximately 2,350 mentions of it, and if fifteen percent of Jesus’ recorded words deal with this topic, then there is something very crucial about monetary wealth. What is so very important about it? Our finances are crucial because we can easily replace our true security in God with its false sense of security.

As we stated earlier, in Article One, part one, money can buy us the three main things we need to survive in this physically hostile world: 1) clothing, 2) food, and 3) shelter. All the things God promised He would provide us (Phillippians 4:19). Money also gains us access to companionship, pleasure, and power. But if God promises to meet our needs, will He not also give us friends and helpers along the way (Genesis 2:18)? Will our Creator not grant us real joy (Psalm 16:11)? Will God not fill us with His omniscient power (Psalm 68:35)? Monetary wealth is the one weapon the Devil can easily detonate upon the entire human race. It touches every one of us in a similar way, and can result in removing our worship from God to it. That is what the Devil wants — to remove God from our focus and refocus us to something else.

Wealth can refocus humanity in countless ways (ex.: career, cars, clothing, drugs, food, sex, shelter, etc.), but by ultimately replacing God it can bring to surface many perverse and vile obsessions burning in the soul of mankind. As the character Gordon Gekko stated in Wall Street, “[Monetary] Greed captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit.” In other words we become godless; obsessed with the survival-of-the-fittest lifestyle. We begin to embrace the whole kill-or-be-killed ideals of the humanists — we become self-serving.

Country Music artist and Australian native Keith Urban sang a very poignant lyric, back in 2002. The song was entitled You’re Not My God, and the first verse, and chorus, are as follows:

It’s just a piece of paper, it says, “In God We Trust.”
And a little sure felt good, but a lot was not enough.
And everybody loved me when I was on a roll,
And I thought I had everything when I held the gold.

But you’re not my God, and you’re not my friend;
You’re not the one that I will walk with in the end.
You’re not the truth; you’re a temporary shot,
And you ruin people’s lives, and you don’t give a second thought.
You’re not my God.

Selah (Pause/Reflect).

So poignant, this thought — so powerful, this statement!

As we conclude this article, let’s look at a few more verses of Scripture from God’s holy Word. The first comes from the book of Psalms, the hundred-and-nineteenth chapter, verse 36, and states:

Turn my heart toward your [God’s] statutes and not toward selfish gain.

Our second verse comes from the book of Proverbs, and is the very first stanza of the eighteenth chapter, which reads:

An unfriendly man pursues selfish ends; he defies all sound judgment.

And our third verse comes from the book of Luke, chapter 16, line 13. It is a variation of Matthew 6:24, quoted earlier in Article One, part one, and says:

No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.

Now read, once more, those three verses. Consider, again, the lyric of the song You’re Not My God, by Keith Urban. Ponder the story of the rich-young-ruler, that I shared at the beginning of Article One, part one. Do you see why monetary wealth can be so very dangerous? How such wealth can so easily deceive and blind us from our Creator? A love of money doesn’t, and never will, lead to a spirit of generosity — No! Humanity’s obsession over money will always create an over inflated sense of self-worth. We cannot serve both God and monetary wealth, because we cannot elevate our selves higher than almighty God. We must become less, and remain humble, so that He [God] can become even greater in our lives (John 3:30-36). This truth is also why the “Prosperity Gospel” is so dangerous.

You see, the “Prosperity Gospel” or a prosperity theology (sometimes, also, referred to as the “Health and Wealth Gospel”) is a false doctrine which states that financial blessing is always the will of God for His people. This teaching claims that our faith, accompanied by our positive speech, and donations to various Christian ministries, will always cause an increase to our monetary wealth. This false doctrine views the Bible as a type of contract between God and mankind; stressing the idea that if people exhibit enough faith in God, then He will deliver His promises of security and prosperity. Don’t believe this lie — ever!

God has promised to meet our needs, and no contract is needed. God cares for us because He created us (Luke 12:22-32). God does not place conditions on His promise to provide our every need. No strings are ever attached. Besides, it’s not your physical health and well-being that God is excessively concerned with — it’s your immortal soul He is so very attentive to. Why do you think God the Father sent His only begotten Son to live a perfect life, and take our sins with Him to the cross? Jesus didn’t come to die, and conquer death, so that we could have abundant monetary wealth; Christ did this so that we could have an abundant life with God the Father, in Heaven, for all eternity.

I leave you with this one last verse to consider. It’s from the Apostle Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians, and it reads:

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal (2 Corinthians 4:18).

Truth or Dare by J. Scott Harden is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://www.jasonmin.wordpress.com.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

The “NIV” and “New International Version” trademarks are registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by International Bible Society. Use of either trademark requires the permission of International Bible Society.

Wall Street TM © 1987, 2000 20th Century Fox. All rights reserved.

You’re Not My God lyrics and music written by Keith Urban. Copyright © 2002 Capitol Records Inc.

If you want to use these lyrics, please contact the authors, artists or labs.

If your church or organization would like to talk with J. Scott Harden about a speaking engagement, or a writing project, please get in touch with Mr. Harden through Jason MinistriesTwitter account or Facebook page.

Article 4

The Ten Commandments, starring Charlton Heston, Yul Brynner, Anne Baxter, Edward G. Robinson, Yvonne De Carlo, Debra Paget, and John Derek, is a 1956 epic film that tells the story of the Hebrew’s exodus from Egypt.

The Ten Commandments, which was the last film that famed director Cecil B. DeMille presided over, is one of the most financially successful films ever made, grossing over $65 million at the US box office. If you adjust for inflation, this makes it the sixth highest-grossing movie domestically, with an adjusted total of $1,025,730,000 in 2012.

The film received seven Academy Award nominations including “Best Picture,” and won the award for “Best Visual Effects.” The American Film Institute (a.k.a. AFI) later voted The Ten Commandments as the tenth best film in the epic genre.

As epic as this film is in cinematic history, so too is this story’s monumental affect on man’s history and future. For it’s in this saga of the Hebrew’s exodus from Egypt that we see the formal beginning of God’s salvation and redemption of humanity on display, and where we see a subtle visual of one of God’s earliest of names — El Shaddai.

I realize that for most the name “El Shaddai” is more closely connected in our thoughts and minds to the very popular song written by Michael Card and more famously performed by Amy Grant, rather than the story of the Exodus, but grant (no pun intended) me just a moment and I’ll explain the association.

“God of the mountains” or “el shaddai,” was a Mesopotamian term that was used in reference of a divine mountain. This name was but one of the patriarchal names for the tribal god of the Mesopotamians. Now in Exodus 6:3, “El Shaddai” is seen identified solely with the Creator — the God of Abraham — and with His name, Yahweh, which is why this particular name of God (El Shaddai) could be derived from the Hebrews experience of seeing God’s fire atop Mount Sinai and from hearing God’s thunder from the Israelite camp at the base of the mountain. It could also explain, in part, the more popular interpretation of the name “El Shaddai” as meaning “God Almighty,” but linguistically this interpretation comes many years later from the English translators of the Septuagint (i.e. the Greek translators of the Old Testament).

These English translators determined that “Shaddai” came from “shad-ad,” a root verb that means “to over power” or “to destroy.” It’s also seen translated in the Latin Vulgate as “omnipotens,” which is where our English word “omnipotent” comes from. Yes, God is everywhere. Yes, God is all-knowing, and all-powerful, therefore God is Almighty. But while this is very true of God, I don’t think this quite reveals the essence of what this name really means. Also, long before Moses and the exodus of the Hebrews from Egypt, God makes use of this very name when introducing Himself to the Hebrew patriarch, Abram.

In Genesis 17:1, our Creator used the name “El Shaddai” when He confirmed His covenant with Abram, and his descendants, and renames Abram to Abraham. The more popular name of “God Almighty” certainly could apply here, as God is mighty enough to make this promise and fulfill it, but there appears to be more implied here. Especially if “Shaddai” is seen as a compound word within a compound name.

“El Shaddai” is one of 27 compound names known as “El constructs.” The names are formed by combining a shortened form of the name “Elohim,” meaning “Deity,” with some other name or title, in this case the name “Shaddai.” Split apart “Shaddai” and we get two smaller words: “sha,” which means “who,” and “dai,” which means “enough.” So, a closer look at the Hebraic practice of shortening a name of God (El from Elohim), and combining that shortened name with a descriptive attribute (i.e. Shaddai), and we begin to see that “El Shaddai” could translate as “God who IS Enough.” Pause and ponder that name for a moment (selah) — God who IS Enough!

What an amazing revelation of God to Abraham, and to us. Yahweh wasn’t just making us aware of His might in this covenant. God was saying He was, is, and always will be sufficient to fulfill His promises to us, in us, and through us. Yahweh, is mighty! Yahweh, is enough!

We see another example of El Shaddai as being all sufficient in Genesis 49:22-26, as Jacob (Israel) is blessing his son Joseph. In this verse Israel says:

“Joseph is a fruitful vine, a fruitful vine near a spring, whose branches climb over a wall. With bitterness archers attacked him; they shot at him with hostility. But his bow remained steady, his strong arms stayed limber, because of the hand of the Mighty One [El Shaddai] of Jacob, because of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel, because of your father’s [Israel’s] God, who helps you, because of the Almighty [El Shaddai], who blesses you with blessings of the heavens above, blessings of the deep that lies below, blessings of the breast and womb. Your father’s blessings are greater than the blessings of the ancient mountains, than the bounty of the age-old hills. Let all these rest on the head of Joseph, on the brow of the prince among his brothers.”

See how God is described by Israel to be the mighty provider of Joseph’s blessings? God is shown to be Joseph’s strength to endure hardships. God is shown to be Joseph’s strong moral and spiritual foundation. God is shown to be Joseph’s sustenance and nourishment; not just to him, but to his children too. All in all, El Shaddai is Joseph’s “God who IS enough.”

So, how about you? Is God your strength in hard times, your foundation of truth, your sustainer in all you need, both physically as well as spiritually? Is God enough?

Do you allow God access to all areas of your life? Do you really have a deep enough relationship with God; one in which you can call upon El Shaddai in confidence? Do you really know “God who IS enough”?

Selah (Pause/Reflect).

I’ll leave you with this word from God to the Apostle Paul. It comes as a response to a painful plea that Paul made to our Creator to have a “thorn” removed from his life. God’s answer to Paul was not to remove the torment from his life, but to reveal Himself to Paul through the affliction. In this answer came an understanding; Paul came to know El Shaddai even more upon hearing and accepting these divine words:

“My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)

His Name Is . . . by J. Scott Harden is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

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Cecil B. DeMille‘s The Ten Commandments Copyright © 1956 Paramount Pictures. All Rights Reserved. TM ® & Copyright © 1999 by Paramount Pictures. All rights reserved.

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