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August 2011 entries

God's Breadcrumbs

I am very interested in Biblical archaeology. I'm kind of a nerd when it comes to old scrolls, pieces of pottery and ancient ruins. While in Israel I am often left standing alone in front of a dig while others are heading to the bus or souvenir shop. I love what these old artifacts tell us about the world of Moses, Isaiah or Jesus.

One of the most fascinating relics to me is the ossuary (bone box) with the inscription of the occupying bones as "James, Son of Joseph, Brother of Jesus." This 2,000 year old burial box is a possible link to our Savior. Of course we cannot prove it is the "Jesus" of our Bible. It was a popular name in those days. But the fact that he was also the son of Joseph is fascinating. That coupled with the fact that the brother is mentioned at all is compelling. Usually, siblings were not mentioned, especially if there were several and only one is mentioned. In that case, the brother mentioned would have to be important.

Recently I came across another great find. About 10 years ago an oil lamp dated in the 1st century surfaced that is just now being published for the public to see. It is unusual in several respects. First, it is carved from stone and not molded from clay. This is very rare and uually indicates it is for ritual use since clay is given to impurities. You might remember that we are regarded as clay in the potters hands and that Jesus is the "rock" that the builders rejected. Simon was renamed Peter, that is rock, by Jesus when he showed signs that he was becoming sensitive to the voice of God. Second, it is large. It is about 9 inches acrosses and weighs 4 pounds. That is huge for an ancient artifact. Thirdly, and I find this the most fascinating, it has seven spouts where flames would be lit. Most oil lamps have one. Rare lamps have two. This is incredibly rare.


My mind immediately raced to the opening chapters of Revelation. Jesus is said to be in the midst of seven golden lampstands. You may note that the opening where the oil would be placed in this ancient lamp is in the middle of the lamp between the seven spouts. Oil in the Bible stands for the presence of God's Holy Spirit. In Revelation 1:14 John declares "His eyes were like a flame of fire." Flames of fire would have surrounded this oil lamp when lit. The text goes on to emphasize the importance of the number 7. There are seven stars, seven churches, seven seals, seven trumpets, seven bowls and seven angels.

Could it be that this rare and ancient article, most probably used in Temple worship in Jerusalem, was the basis for the symbolism of God's revelations to John. Could it be that it has been found in the last days to remind us that He is coming soon? I believe God leaves us breadcrumbs so that we may not lose our way. Maybe, these two recent finds in Israel are God's breadcrumbs!













Sooner than Later

I had to respond to an article I just read on my iPad Fox News app. Iran has moved some of its nuclear centrifuge machines to an underground mountain location in Fordo. They claim the centrifuges are being used to produce radioisotopes for cancer patients.

Iran has openly declared their intentions to destroy Israel. The enriched uranium not only can be used for medical purposes, but it is also the key ingredient to producing a powerful nuclear weapon. The President of Iran has indicated in previous speeches that he feels it is his mission to see both Israel and the United States defeated. Sooner than later is his declared time frame.

The cavernous facility near the holy city of Qom is nearing completion. For believers it is clear that God's intentions are nearing completion as well. Soon we will hear the trump of God and the voice of the archangel. I believe it is sooner than later. Look up for our redempion draws near.

Just Broke

Just a quick word. It's not necessairily inspired or pertaining to faith. I was browsing comments from so many of my Facebook friends. The common theme seemed to be sadness over their kids heading back to school. Often the mourning wasn't over the kids being out of the house, but how old they felt since their child had reached a certain age. Marilyn and I have you beat. The oldest son just graduated from Bryan College and the youngest is entering his second year at Chattanooga State. Yesterday I wrote his tuition check. I no longer feel old, just broke!


Philippians 4:11-13 (NKJV)
11 Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content:
12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.
13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.


Maybe It's the Heat

Maybe it's the heat. Maybe it's because I am about 10 days out from summer vacation with the family. Or maybe it's because I'm on edge about a doctor's appointment on Friday. But I'm in a sorry mood. The staff are keeping their distance. The family waits for me to speak first when I get home and the dogs run the other way when I pull into the driveway. You know what's ticking me off now. Some religious group, who appears to speak for all of us evangelicals, is telling people to not participate in a call to prayer this Saturday in Texas.

It seems Governor Perry of Texas is calling for people of faith to come together this weekend.  He is going to lead out in prayer for this country. There are no T-shirts being sold. No concession stands. Just prayer and reading from God's Word. So why is this religious group opposed. Here are a few of the headlines they have sent to me. "Texas Governor's August 6th Prayer Event Includes Cult Members",   "How the Church of Rome, Protestants, Hindus, and All the World’s Religions Are Becoming One", and "God Cannot and Will Not Bless this Event or Our Nation for being Unequally Yoked with Unbelievers." It seems some of the group are not of the same denomonation as the fundamentalist group reporting these headlines. Thus they are unbelivers.

Do you think that God might be wise enough to discern whether a prayer is coming from an unbeliever or one of His children? Would it be better to boycott an event because not everyone is of our faith, or by being a part bring the presence of the Holy Spirit with us? Come on. Can't we just applaud a politician for standing up for his faith? Do we have to alienate every unbeliever on the planet because we are so isolated we cannot speak without our face turning blood red with indignation and self righteousness. Here me well. I believe Jesus Christ is the only way to the Father. I believe the Bible is true from cover to cover. There is a real heaven and a real hell. But I do not believe any one group of Christians has exclusive rights nor have the right to condemn other believers who are not as right or as left as they are. Being a Southern Baptist I can attest to the truth of that. When we secured our seminaries from the hands of liberal professors and adminisrtators, we then proceeded to hunt down those who were not conservative enough. It has led to a decline in our denomination and baptisms. We need to get over ourselves. (I told you I was in a sorry mood!)

Thank you Governor Perry for calling your state to prayer. I wish we had faithful national leaders who would do the same. I am praying for you and your event. I would encourage you to do the same.