Sunday, August 6, 2017

SOLOMON'S SONG OF SONGS (6)

PRAISE OF THE SHULAMITE'S BEAUTY

The Beloved 

8There are sixty queens
And eighty concubines,
And virgins without number.
9 My dove, my perfect one,
Is the only one,
The only one of her mother,
The favorite of the one who bore her.
The daughters saw her
And called her blessed,
The queens and the concubines,
And they praised her.


The Shulamite

11 I went down to the garden of nuts
To see the verdure of the valley,
To see whether the vine had budded
And the pomegranates had bloomed.
12 Before I was even aware,
My soul had made me
As the chariots of my noble people.

                               …to be cont'd

In Christ,
Janet Irene Thomas
Playwright/Screen Writer/Director
Published Author/Gospel Lyricist &Producer
FOUNDER/CEO
Bible Stories Theatre of
Fine & Performing Arts
www.biblestoriestheatre.org.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

SOLOMON'S SONG OF SONGS (5)

THE BRIDE SEARCHES FOR HER BELOVED

He Speaks: 


5 My bride, my very own,
I come to my garden
and enjoy its spices.
I eat my honeycomb and honey;
I drink my wine and milk.


Their Friends Speak:

Eat my honeycomb and honey;
until
I drink my wine and milk.  
           …to be cont'd


In Christ,
Janet Irene Thomas
Playwright/Screen Writer/Director
Published Author/Gospel Lyricist &Producer
FOUNDER/CEO
Bible Stories Theatre of
Fine & Performing Arts
www.biblestoriestheatre.org.

Friday, July 28, 2017

ACHAN'S SIN (2)


RECAP   After the walls of Jericho fell down, something terrible happened! Someone stole some things from Jericho and it hurt all of the people of Israel. God was very angry! After Achan confessed and was stoned to death, the Lord was no longer angry.

SUMMARY: THE PENALTY OF SIN

When Achan’s sin was discovered, God commanded that he, and his entire family and all his possessions be destroyed, a punishment that seems overly harsh to us today. How are we to understand this dire act of God? There are several reasons for the severe penalty God inflicted upon Achan. 

1. Achan’s sin affected the entire nation of Israel. God says that “the Israelites” acted unfaithfully and that His anger burned “against Israel.” Achan's sin defiled the other members of the community as well as himself. 

2. Achan’s sin caused God’s blessing upon the Israelites to be withheld in their subsequent battle against the city of Ai.Thirty-six innocent men died because of Achan’s sin. He stole that which was “devoted to destruction” and so brought destruction on others. Disobedience brings ruin even upon the innocent. Sin’s effects go beyond the initial sinner. 

3. The gold and silver Achan stole was stolen from God Himself. The precious metals were to be added to the treasury of the Lord, and, in stealing them, Achan, robbed God directly, and an insult to God’s holiness. Nonetheless, the Lord allowed Achan, a night to consider his sin and repent. 

God destroyed Achan’s entire family and possessions; why? No explanation is given in the Bible. But when we read Proverbs 15:27, it says that “a greedy man brings trouble to his family. Or, possibly Achan’s children had now begun to exhibit their father’s traits of covetousness, disobedience, and disrespect for God’s commands. Or, they had actually helped Achan hide the stuff and were, in fact, accomplices to the crime.
 

God does give reasons, nor does He have to. The story of Achan and many other biblical narratives give us sufficient information to understand that God is holy and that He is not to be disobeyed without risking dire consequences. 


In Christ, 
Janet Irene Thomas 
Playwright/Screen Writer/Director 
Published Author/Gospel Lyricist &Producer 
FOUNDER/CEO 
Bible Stories Theatre of 
Fine & Performing Arts 

Thursday, July 27, 2017

ACHAN'S SIN (1)

 THE COST OF SIN   

JOSHUA 7:14-26

“All the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron are sacred to the Lord and must go into his treasury.” “Destroy everything and everyone! . . Except for the really valuable stuff, uh God needs that.”   Josh 6: 19 



********************************
After their victory at Jericho, the Israelites thought the rest of their battles would be easy. Joshua could see that God was helping them and knew with His help no enemy could stand before them.

Therefore, when they went up to the next town of Ai, Joshua sent only 3,000 soldiers. Ai was a small town and his spies had said there were not many people there. But imagine their surprise, then, when the men of Ai killed thirty-six of the Israelites and chased the rest of them back down the hill. The people of Israel were so frightened that their hearts melted and became like water. In his distress, Joshua tore his clothes. Then he and the elders of the people fell before the ark of the Lord, throwing dust on their heads. 


This was a sign of great sadness. Joshua prayed to God and asked why this had happened. God told Joshua to get up off the ground because someone had sinned by stealing and putting it in their own tent. God said that He would not be with Joshua anymore unless he destroyed what was stolen. God told Joshua to tell the people that the next morning they should sanctify themselves and divide up into tribes. Remember the twelve sons of Jacob? They were to divide up in families like Reuben, Simeon, Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, and so on....  to be contd

In Christ,

Janet Irene Thomas
Playwright/Screen Writer/Director
Published Author/Gospel Lyricist &Producer
FOUNDER/CEO
Bible Stories Theatre of
Fine & Performing Arts

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

PUT OFF THE OLD MAN


___________________________________________

Colossians 3: 5-11
Contemporary English Version (CEV)


5 Don’t be controlled by your body. Kill every desire for the wrong kind of sex. Don’t be immoral or indecent or have evil thoughts. Don’t be greedy, which is the same as worshiping idols.

6 God is angry with people who disobey him by doing[a] these things.

7 And that is exactly what you did, when you lived among people who behaved in this way.

8 But now you must stop doing such things. You must quit being angry, hateful, and evil. You must no longer say insulting or cruel things about others.

9 And stop lying to each other. You have given up your old way of life with its habits.
10 Each of you is now a new person. You are becoming more and more like your Creator, and you will understand him better.

11 It doesn’t matter if you are a Greek or a Jew, or if you are circumcised or not. You may even be a barbarian or a Scythian,[b] and you may be a slave or a free person. Yet Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us.

Kingdom Dynamics


Under the old covenant the Law’s system only allowed limited access to God.  The new covenant no longer poses rules for cleansing, but calls to faith and acceptance of the completed work of Jesus.  We are not to allow anything other than the Word of God to control or judge us.  We are neither judged holy nor unholy by external regulations, but by the condition of our heart.

Set your thinking and affection on Jesus Christ, and build your relationship with Him.  Do not allow worldly pursuits to waste your mental or emotional energy.

3:5 the apostle Paul encourages the Colossians to the shame of sin, the great hindrance to seeking the things which are above. Since it is our duty to set our love upon heavenly things, it is our duty to humble our members which are upon the earth, and which naturally incline us to the things of the world:

Mortify them, that is, subdue the vicious habits of mind which prevailed in your Gentile state. Kill them, suppress them, as you do weeds or vermin which spread and destroy all about them, or as you kill an enemy who fights against you and wounds you.”


v  The lusts of the flesh, for which they were before so very outstanding: Fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence—the various workings of the carnal appetites and fleshly impurities, which they indulged in their former course of life, and which were so contrary to the Christian state and the heavenly hope.

v  The love of the world: And covetousness, which is idolatry; that is, an inordinate love of present good and outward enjoyments, which proceeds from too high a value in the mind, puts upon too eager a pursuit, hinders the proper use and enjoyment of them, and creates anxious fear and immoderate sorrow for the loss of them. Note, Covetousness is spiritual idolatry: it is the giving of that love and regard to worldly wealth which are due to God only, and carries a greater degree of malignity in it, and is more highly provoking to God, than is commonly thought. Col. 3:6, 7. 1. Because, if we do not kill them, they will kill us: For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience,

3:6 we are children of disobedience: not only disobedient children, but under the power of sin and naturally prone to disobey. The wicked are estranged from the womb; we go astray as soon as we are born, speaking lies, Ps. 58:3. And, being children of disobedience, we are children of wrath, Eph. 2:3. The wrath of God comes upon all the children of disobedience. Those who do not obey the precepts [guidelines] of the law incur the penalties of it.

3:7 we have walked in by-paths, therefore let us walk in them no more. If I have done iniquity, I will do no more, Job 34:32. The time past our lives may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, 1 Pet. 4:3.—When you lived among those who did such things (so some understand it), then you walked in those evil practices. It is a hard thing to live among those who do the works of darkness and not have fellowship with them, as it is to walk in the mire and contract no soil. Let us keep out of the way of evil-doers.

3:8 as we are to mortify inordinate appetites, so we are to mortify inordinate passions: But now you also put off all these, anger wrath, malice; for these are contrary to the design of the gospel, as well as uncivilized impurities; and, though they are more spiritual wickedness, have not less malignity in them. Anger and wrath are bad, but malice is worse, because it is more rooted and deliberate; it is anger heightened and settled.

3:9 for it is contrary both to the law of truth and the law of love, it is both unjust and unkind, and naturally tends to destroy all faith and friendship among mankind. Lying makes us like the devil (who is the father of lies), and is a prime part of the devil’s image upon our souls; and therefore we are cautioned against this sin by this general reason:


3:10 Seeing that we have now put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man, the consideration that we have by profession put away sin and embraced the cause and interest of Christ, that we have renounced all sin and stand engaged to Christ, should fortify us against this sin of lying. Those who have put off the old man have put it off with its deeds; and those of us who have put on the new man must put on all its deeds—not only embrace good principles but act them in a good conversation.

v  The new man is said to be renewed in knowledge, because an ignorant soul cannot be a good soul. Without knowledge the heart cannot be good, Prov. 19:2. The grace of God works upon the WILL and affections by renewing the understanding.  Light is the first thing in the new creation, as it was in the first: after the image of him who created him.

3:11 there is now no difference arising from different country or different condition and circumstance of life: it is as much the duty of the one as of the other to be holy, and as much the privilege of the one as of the other to receive from God the grace to be so. Christ came to take down all partition-walls, that all might stand on the same level before God, both in duty and privilege. And for this reason, because Christ is all in all. Christ is a Christian’s all, his only Lord and Savior, and all his hope and happiness. And to those who are sanctified, one as well as another and whatever they are in other respects, HE is all in all, the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.



Janet Irene Thomas
Playwright/Screen Writer/Director
Published Author/Gospel Lyricist &Producer
FOUNDER/CEO
Bible Stories Theatre of
Fine & Performing Arts
www.biblestoriestheatre.org.


Tuesday, July 25, 2017

NO CONDEMNATION

 

"LIFE THROUGH the SPIRIT"

Romans 8:1-20 New International Version (NIV)

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you[a] free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh,[b] God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering.[c] And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.
You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. 10 But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life[d] because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of[e] his Spirit who lives in you.


12 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.
 14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship.[f] And by him we cry, “Abba,[g] Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.


Present Suffering and Future Glory
18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope


8:1 Therefore: Because of the fact of salvation by faith alone, but especially picking up the major outline of Christ’s redemptive work, Christians are free from God’s banishing judgment.

8:2 The law here does not refer to God’s written moral commands in the OT, but to the system of operation that the Spirit of life, the Holy Spirit, carries out in our lives, breaking the dominion of the old law [principles] of sin and death.

8:3 Though given by God, the law (the written code in the OT)was powerless to enable people to meet its demands because it had to depend on sinful human nature to carry them out. In the likeness of sinful flesh: The human nature of Jesus was real, but sinless (Phil. 2:7,8; Heb. 2:17; 4:15; 1 Pet. 2:22).

8:4 Paul presents two ways of life, and they are central to the whole discussion until v. 17. To walk after the flesh is to follow the sinful desires of one’s old life. To walk after the Spirit is to follow the desires of the Holy Spirit, to live in a way pleasing to Him.

8:5 Paul expects that Christians ordinarily will live after the Spirit. This involves holiness, not only in actions and words, but also in the thoughts that fill our minds each moment through the day.

8:7, 8 They that are in the flesh characterizes people’s very nature and is a stronger description than the activity of walking according to the flesh. The phrase, therefore, refers to unbelievers who cannot please God. This situation is not true of believers, as the following verse shows.

8:9 He is none of his: All Christians have the Holy Spirit within them. Anyone who does not have the Holy Spirit within is not a Christian. Though Paul says that Christians are in the Spirit, he also warns that they can from time to time live "after the flesh"(v. 13).

8:12 To live after the flesh: Although Paul does not state it, the implication is that we are debtors to the Spirit, to live according to the Spirit.

8:13 Paul lays out two directions of life and shows their ultimate consequences. He implies that Christians have an ability to choose to do what is uncharacteristic of a Christian, namely, to walk "according to the flesh," and he warns them not to do it. If ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body: A good summary of the process of sanctification (growth in holiness) in the Christian life. We are active to work at growing in holiness and "putting to death" any sin in our hearts or minds, as well as in our words and deeds. Yet, in spite of the fact that we actively put fort effort, Paul reminds us that it is only "by the Spirit," that is, by the Holy Spirit’s power, that we can succeed.
8:14 The phrase as many as are led by the Spirit of God is more than a synonym for Christians. It describes the lifestyle of those who are sons of God. Paul is giving encouragement not to live according to the flesh but to put to death the deeds of the body (v. 13). Therefore, being "led by the Spirit of God" involves progressively putting to death the sinful appetites of the lower nature.

8:17 Scripture often indicates that God leads His children through suffering before they reach His glory.

8:19 The creature will be redeemed at the consummation of our redemption.

8:20 The whole created universe has suffered the consequences of human sin, being subjected to decomposition, futility, and corruption. However, that process of deterioration is only temporary, because God has provided hope of deliverance.


Janet Irene Thomas
Playwright/Screen Writer/Director
Published Author/Gospel Lyricist &Producer
FOUNDER/CEO
Bible Stories Theatre of
Fine & Performing Arts
www.biblestoriestheatre.org.


Monday, July 24, 2017

CAIN AND ABEL (3)

LESSON - STUDY-CONCLUSION

Genesis 4:1-16


RECAP: After God told Eve that she would conceive of a son that would crush the head of the serpent (Satan) mentioned in Genesis 3:15 which has been called the protoevangelium, the promise of a redeemer for fallen mankind, Eve called her son Cain.  Eve may well have believed that her son might be that redeemer and that is why she called him Cain and said, “I have gotten a man with the help of the Lord” (Gen 4:1).  This seems likely because Cain’s name in Hebrew means "acquired" and she may have thought that she had acquired this redeemer and especially since he was the first born which is important.  After Cain was born, "she bore his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain a worker of the ground" (Gen 4:2).  Abel’s Hebrew name means "breath" but may be a derivative of the Assyrian name for "meadow" and this seems perfectly fitting as Abel was a keeper of sheep or a shepherd.

Since "Abel…brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions, the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering" (Gen 4:4) it appears that Abel raised sheep to have a consistent supply of lambs to sacrifice.   First of all, he brought the first born of the flock and this would be what the later sacrifices would require.   Also, God has stated in both the Old Testament and the New that without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sins (Heb. 9:22).  I believe that this is why God accepted Abel’s offering and did not accept Cain’s.  One offering was insufficient and consisted of works but Abel’s was a blood sacrifice and that was pleasing or satisfying to God.  Able had forgiveness but Cain did not because God did not accept his offering…one of works (Gen 4:5).

Conclusion

 What can we learn from this Bible story for our lives today?

Question #1) Are we better than Cain?


“Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and we know
 that no murderer has eternal life residing in him” (1 John 3:15).

Question #2) Are we offering the right sacrifices?


“You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house
to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to
God through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:5).

Question #3) Are we mastering sin or being mastered by it?


“For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not
under the law, but under grace” (Romans 6:14).


By spending time in prayer and Bible study, our hearts are kept sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit. We are compelled by our love for God to give the best we have to offer in light of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.


In Christ,
Janet Irene Thomas
Playwright/Screen Writer/Director
Published Author/Gospel Lyricist &Producer
FOUNDER/CEO
Bible Stories Theatre of
Fine & Performing Arts
www.biblestoriestheatre.org.