Matthew Henry Rocks!

Photo that has nothing to do with the post: One of my cats chilling in a mess.

In case you aren’t familiar with Matthew Henry, he was a noncomformist Christian who wrote a Bible commentary of great detail and depth but which is easy to read, at least for me. The flow is good and he doesn’t bog me down with words I don’t know, even though he was born in 1662.

“Noncomformist” is a bonus word that I like in general, though its meaning is broad. I shy away from writers who have a specific affiliation with one denomination or another.

Here is a sample of Matthew Henry’s commentary, this one being on Hebrews 12:1-11, the first two verses of which say: “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

12:1-11 The persevering obedience of faith in Christ, was the race set before the Hebrews, wherein they must either win the crown of glory, or have everlasting misery for their portion; and it is set before us. By the sin that does so easily beset us, understand that sin to which we are most prone, or to which we are most exposed, from habit, age, or circumstances. This is a most important exhortation; for while a man’s darling sin, be it what it will, remains unsubdued, it will hinder him from running the Christian race, as it takes from him every motive for running, and gives power to every discouragement. When weary and faint in their minds, let them recollect that the holy Jesus suffered, to save them from eternal misery. By stedfastly looking to Jesus, their thoughts would strengthen holy affections, and keep under their carnal desires. Let us then frequently consider him. What are our little trials to his agonies, or even to our deserts? What are they to the sufferings of many others? There is a proneness in believers to grow weary, and to faint under trials and afflictions; this is from the imperfection of grace and the remains of corruption. Christians should not faint under their trials. Though their enemies and persecutors may be instruments to inflict sufferings, yet they are Divine chastisements; their heavenly Father has his hand in all, and his wise end to answer by all. They must not make light of afflictions, and be without feeling under them, for they are the hand and rod of God, and are his rebukes for sin. They must not despond and sink under trials, nor fret and repine, but bear up with faith and patience. God may let others alone in their sins, but he will correct sin in his own children. In this he acts as becomes a father. Our earthly parents sometimes may chasten us, to gratify their passion, rather than to reform our manners. But the Father of our souls never willingly grieves nor afflicts his children. It is always for our profit. Our whole life here is a state of childhood, and imperfect as to spiritual things; therefore we must submit to the discipline of such a state. When we come to a perfect state, we shall be fully reconciled to all God’s chastisement of us now. God’s correction is not condemnation; the chastening may be borne with patience, and greatly promote holiness. Let us then learn to consider the afflictions brought on us by the malice of men, as corrections sent by our wise and gracious Father, for our spiritual good.

In case you’d like to read more of Matthew Henry’s commentary, one place I highly recommend to find it is on Bible Hub, a free site for some helpful Bible study tools. In a search engine, type in whatever passage of Scripture you are wanting, add the words “Bible Hub” to it, and “commentary”, and you’ll find the pertinent sections from his studies there.

Alternatively, you could buy the books, but I’ve become fond of internet tools myself, and my bookshelves all but bleedeth from the weight of many bound pages of thought, so I have to curb my purchases in that regard.

Of course, Mr. Henry is not God, and his writing is not Scripture. His words are merely assists in helping me understand the Bible from the vantage point of one man who has studied it. No man, nor any organization of humans, has all the answers, but I do believe the Word of God to have all I need to know for where I need to go.

As 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says:

16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

Maranatha!

 

 

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Did Jesus Die On Good Friday?

An unrelated picture of the Thompson River at Spences Bridge, BC

The photo I put in this blog entry has nothing to do with what I’m about to write. It was shot at a place called Spences Bridge, and for the life of me I cannot find out why it is named that. It’s not Spence’s with an apostrophe. It is “Spences”.

Anyway…

For years, I wondered how to mathematically connect Good Friday to Easter Sunday, knowing the Bible says Jesus was crucified and died, and then THREE DAYS later He came back from the dead. I’ve heard explanations, even from followers of Christ, but they did not compute for me.

Here are a few links to help clarify this, for anyone else who may wonder.

First, some Bible verses on the death and resurrection of Christ. They are in the New International Version, but I strongly recommend that if you are going to do word studies to dig deeper, you should use the King James Version, as it is closer to the original languages. Verses on Christ’s death and resurrection

And this one goes into more detail about what was happening for those three days when the followers of Jesus at that time figured He was gone for good: GotQuestions: Where Jesus Was

And, lastly, the page across which I stumbled while reading something else, which prompted me to make this blog post: Did Jesus Die On Good Friday?

Here is an excerpt from that last link:

Jesus did not die on Good Friday. He was crucified on Wednesday afternoon (the day before the High Sabbath of Passover), buried by 6 p.m., in the tomb for Thursday, Friday and Saturday (including Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights), and rose from the dead at or by Saturday evening at 6 p.m. It all fits together perfectly – and makes sense. If we don’t understand it, the problem is with us and with our preconceived traditions/beliefs; not with the text.

Soon, we who have accepted that Jesus Christ is the one and only Savior offered to the world will be with Him face to face. Whatever day of the week that happens on won’t matter to me.

Maranatha!

Meaning Of Life?

Sunset on Thompson River, Kamloops, BC

The beauty of this world, such as this sunset on Thompson River in Kamloops, BC, will pale in comparison to what we will see with the Lord Jesus

The meaning of life seems to be a tough thing to try to define, but the way I see it is that we were put on this earth as part of God’s plan to weed out who really will belong with Him because they make the choice to be with Him: the ones with the child-like faith in Him. Perhaps even the ones who died before they had a chance to make a choice if they were too young to know about Him or never heard of Him.

I think God put mankind into motion, starting with Adam and Eve, to create His family – a family who WANTS to be with Him, not just a bunch of robots He could have created. I can tell you that when my children do something for me because they want to, it fills my heart with joy and appreciation. I feel the love! But when they are merely obeying something I told them to do, although I appreciate it, it just feels like “OK, good, you’re cooperating with the plan”. It doesn’t feel like friendship. It feels like they are doing it because they have to. I think God just might have that same kind of feeling. After all, we humans were created in His image, and that’s not just a visage in a mirror.

Being in this world full of temptations and pain, it can be easy to just give up and not get to know the One who loves us and longs for our love in return. It is them who will not be in the fold. We don’t need a bunch of hateful humans spoiling the unity when we are in that perfect place He has created for us, which is NOT this world. Look what happened to Lucifer when he rebelled. He was thrown to earth. Eww, earth!

This world is not our home. I really believe that. As the Bible says, this is our temporary tent from which we are groaning to be free.

Too many times, I see and hear people talking glibly about how God can make things better for them here on this earth. I don’t know what Scriptural basis there is for that. Look at all the awful things that were recorded in the Bible that happened to the people who are now with Jesus, to whom at the time they looked forward as their coming Messiah. Look at how King David lost his son. Look at Elijah being so depressed that he ran off to the wilderness and stayed there being fed by crows. Look at Jeremiah who wished he were never born. Look at Jonah running from God. All these humans were being used by God, looking toward the coming of Jesus as Messiah (see here), as part of the plan. Now Jesus has come, and we by faith in Him look forward to eternity with Him.

The stuff we see in this world is often bad. Very bad. We even sometimes are guilty of the bad stuff ourselves, all being sinners with the tendency to do what we want, even if it’s not good for us. Darn free will, eh? But the beauty in that free will is that we can also choose Jesus. And in choosing Him, we have assurance of salvation. I’m definitely going to be with Him in the end of my earthly timeline, off to begin life the way He intended it in the garden of Eden – perfect.

We will only be disappointed if we expect to find God’s perfect kingdom on earth, even though there are preachers out there who are saying His kingdom is already here. Nope. Look around. This is not God’s kingdom. This is still a place under Satan’s influence. No matter how hard we try here, we are not going to make this dying world into the perfect place God has prepared for us with mansions, where gold is something so common that it paves the streets like asphalt, a crystal clear river of life, the tree of life with its twelve different fruits, no need for lamp or light because the Lord God is the light there, and things I cannot even imagine, but the best part is that there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain. I could dance just thinking of that part!

I often remind myself that without the hard times on earth, I might not have such a longing for heaven. If life were perfect here, who’d realize their need for a Savior?

Dear Lady

No stairway built by man can assuredly carry us to God.

“Dear Lady can you hear the wind blow
And did you know
Your stairway lies on the whispering wind?”

The music of Led Zeppelin has moved me deeply since my early teens. I have, however, gone through years of trying not to love it, having assumed it to be “wrong” and “unGodly”. But it was what I felt I needed to do at that time.

Knowing that Led Zeppelin’s guitarist, Jimmy Page, bought the former castle of Satanist, Aleister Crowley, gave me an unpleasant self-righteous jolt that I shouldn’t associate myself with such people.

I don’t want to know about what Aleister Crowley believed or what he did. I read a bit about him and it was enough.

But who am I to say that anyone else’s evil is worse than my own? I myself was born as a sinner like the rest of mankind ever since Adam and Eve. I, like anyone else, had the choice to believe what I heard and read about Jesus or to refuse.

Who of us is without sin?  Who of us is without need for reconciliation with God?  Some make that reconciliation – which only happens through Christ. Some haven’t yet.  Many have died without it and that is eternally sad.

I pray that the remaining members who participated in the band called Led Zeppelin accept Christ, if they haven’t already. And who knows, maybe the drummer who already died believed in his heart, maybe even in his final moments like the thief on the cross next to my Lord, that God has raised Jesus from the dead. Maybe John “Bonzo” Bonham is with Him. Maybe he’s playing the drums before Him. Maybe he’s jamming with Him! He who created us and our ability to excel in our skills must surely be the master of all the arts! I believe I will find out someday.

Even the most pious-seeming song-writers may have deep, dark, hidden wickedness in their lives. As Scripture points out, all our righteousness is as filthy rags. Even if we seem to be pure and good and clean, our good works are not what reconcile us with God: it’s Jesus who does that, and all we need do is accept that fact.

Sometimes music is the only thing that comes close to soothing me.  If it takes the recordings of Led Zeppelin to cause even a fleeting smile within me when I’m in the depths of despair and heartache, well, it’s a medicine that at this point I feel safe to take, regardless of what is or isn’t in the lives of the humans who orchestrated it.

I’ll close with some music from someone else’s interpretation of Blind Willie Johnson’s “Nobody’s Fault But Mine”, which Led Zeppelin covered nicely, too. Here is Glenn Kaiser’s version. I like how he adds this:

“Jesus, He taught me how to walk
If I don’t walk what Jesus taught
Nobody’s fault but mine”

(This post is from a pile of drafts that has accumulated over the years. It was originally started in January of 2013. I have a few other posts to do with Led Zeppelin, which may eventually show up in this blog.)

 

A Good Sign!

This is the sweetest billboard I have ever seen. It always made me smile as I drove past it on Highway 97 when heading south out of Prince George, BC.

Sadly, as of a few months ago, that sign is no longer there. If I knew who to ask, I’d inquire as to its disappearance, and as to whether or not there is a plan for its return.

Wooden printed sign or not, though, I know God loves me, and His Son Jesus, who gave His life for me, WILL return. I hope you will be with us.

Here’s a chunk of Scripture from God’s word to consider if you are not sure you’re saved:

9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.

13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

(Romans 10:9-13)

Why I Escaped (And From What Did I Escape?)

Bruised Steen (2)

Here is a picture of me a week or two after I’d been thrown face-first into a wall in the late 1980s. I went to the doctor about the face wounds at the time, but I never thought to get my neck checked out. Several years later, I started getting headaches and neck pain that would last for five days, every few weeks.

In 2012, a chiropractor did a full spine X-ray on me. His assumption is that it was that unhealed whiplash type of injury, way back then, that is the cause of my spine having grown in a twisted manner, somehow flaring up into these frustratingly painful “attacks” that don’t respond to even strong medication like morphine.

That’s the drama part. It’s ugly. I deal with the outcome. But, I keep in mind that a lot of people have their own predicaments that are worse than mine.

The good news is that I am free from that destructive relationship.

The better news is that I am free from an even worse destiny of missing out on the most loving relationship I could ever imagine – one with the Creator of all life, thanks to His Son, Jesus, giving His life to pay for my ticket to Him. Call it crazy if you will, but it’s a long, long story, longer than mine, and it’s all there in the Bible for you to read yourself. If you’ve read it and still don’t believe it, I urge you to consider that if the Bible is right in that the only way to eternal life is through faith in Christ, and you reject that, you risk ending up in a situation you will deeply regret. If with even the tiniest bit of faith you can accept it, it is better than risking eternity in hell – IF hell really is as real as the Bible says it is. If it isn’t, we who believe lose nothing and we turn to dust. It costs you nothing to believe. I figure it’s not worth the risk to reject such a simple deal.

As for my own long story, it’ll take me awhile to get it copied to this WordPress blog properly, with all the photos and links, so for now I will just provide a link to where it is currently located, on my old Google blog. I never did properly edit it, as I wanted to get it out there in a hurry at the time, several years ago now. I apologize for that, and for any photos that don’t show up where they should.

Why I Escaped (And From What Did I Escape?)

If you are in an abusive situation, please know that at least one person understands. I would pray for you if I knew about it, and try to help you find a way out.

 

Persecution Doesn’t Correct Error

A picture that has nothing to do with the blog post.

“Teaching, not persecution, is the Scripture method of dealing with those in error.”

This is an excerpt from Matthew Henry’s commentary on 2 Timothy 2:23. And here is the Scripture with the verses that follow it:

23 Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. 24 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, 25 correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will. (ESV)

Those who know me will know that I prefer the King James Version, but on occasion I will quote from other versions of the Bible if they read easily and don’t distract from the point. The best way to understand Scripture is to check the original languages. That’s a big job for those who aren’t versed in Hebrew and Greek, but there are tools on the internet that help when you want to look something up, one being Blue Letter Bible with its Strong’s Concordance feature.

And now on to that which inspired me to write this blog post – Matthew Henry’s commentary on 2 Timothy 2:23

“The more we follow that which is good, the faster and the further we shall flee from that which is evil. The keeping up the communion of saints, will take us from fellowship with unfruitful works of darkness. See how often the apostle cautions against disputes in religion; which surely shows that religion consists more in believing and practising what God requires, than in subtle disputes. Those are unapt to teach, who are apt to strive, and are fierce and froward. Teaching, not persecution, is the Scripture method of dealing with those in error. The same God who gives the discovery of the truth, by his grace brings us to acknowledge it, otherwise our hearts would continue to rebel against it. There is no peradventure, in respect of God’s pardoning those who do repent; but we cannot tell that he will give repentance to those who oppose his will. Sinners are taken in a snare, and in the worst snare, because it is the devil’s; they are slaves to him. And if any long for deliverance, let them remember they never can escape, except by repentance, which is the gift of God; and we must ask it of him by earnest, persevering prayer.” (2 Timothy 2:23 Commentaries)

Just something on which to think.

Death Comes A-Knocking

Death comes knocking on everybody’s door sooner or later. Be prepared to answer with “YES! Jesus Christ already paid the price for me and HALLELUJAH I am going to be with Him forever!”

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”

(Romans 10:9, KJV)

Well Done!

I love getting the little notification that announces to me and only me how many days in a row I’ve posted on WordPress. Do you know what I mean?

Not that I do things for the sole purpose of receiving any kind of acknowledgement, but it does feel good to get a little pat on the back, even if via a pre-programmed note. There was a human behind the original creation of that note, and I appreciate that they thought of it.

I believe it is going to feel extra wonderful to hear sweet words from my Lord Jesus when I see Him face to face, like He paints in a parable where He says the famous lines: “Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” (Matthew 25:23)

Look up the whole passage in the Bible, in Matthew 25:14-30, for the full details. Here’s a link to help you get there, and you can find it in whichever version you like to read: Matthew 25:14-30

By the way, I like my steak well done, too, but that’s another topic.

Well done!

Barbecue is a food group

Declutter!

Declutter!

Is that an order?

Yes. Yes, it is. It is an orderly order.

Okay. Well, what if I don’t do it? How about I sit here in this wooden rocking chair and stare at the woodstove in front of me?

That woodstove and everything on it, beside it, and around it represents the most uncluttered place in my life. Looking at it inspires me to go upstairs to my bedroom and attempt to bring order to a mish-mash of matter that has accumulated in boxes and on surfaces over the past several years.

Mmmmm…

The sight of the stove, all quiet and cool, with no need for a fire this non-frozen morning in semi-wild BC, fills me with calm, if only momentarily until I gaze upon the mess I’ve piled up over the past week while I returned everything to my newly carpeted room. It represents peace. It inspires me.

“Okay, I’m done!” I say, as I jump up from my chair, hook earbuds over my ears, and take my phone upstairs to declutter with a head full of music.

I can DO this!

“Let all things be done decently and in order.” (1 Corinthians 14:40)