Saturday, May 26, 2018

BALAAM SON OF BEOR (1)


Balak Summons Balaam


22 Then the Israelites traveled to the plains of Moab and camped along the Jordan across from Jericho.

2 Now Balak son of Zippor saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites,3 and Moab was terrified because there were so many people. Indeed, Moab was filled with dread because of the Israelites.

4 The Moabites said to the elders of Midian, “This horde is going to lick up everything around us, as an ox licks up the grass of the field.”

So Balak son of Zippor, who was king of Moab at that time, 5 sent messengers to summon Balaam son of Beor, who was at Pethor, near the Euphrates River, in his native land. Balak said:

“A people has come out of Egypt; they cover the face of the land and have settled next to me. 6 Now come and put a curse on these people, because they are too powerful for me. Perhaps then I will be able to defeat them and drive them out of the land. For I know that whoever you bless is blessed, and whoever you curse is cursed.”

7 The elders of Moab and Midian left, taking with them the fee for divination. When they came to Balaam, they told him what Balak had said.

8 “Spend the night here,” Balaam said to them, “and I will report back to you with the answer the Lord gives me.” So the Moabite officials stayed with him.

9 God came to Balaam and asked, “Who are these men with you?”

10 Balaam said to God, “Balak son of Zippor, king of Moab, sent me this message: 11 ‘A people that has come out of Egypt covers the face of the land. Now come and put a curse on them for me. Perhaps then I will be able to fight them and drive them away.’”

12 But God said to Balaam, “Do not go with them. You must not put a curse on those people, because they are blessed.”

13 The next morning Balaam got up and said to Balak’s officials, “Go back to your own country, for the Lord has refused to let me go with you.”

14 So the Moabite officials returned to Balak and said, “Balaam refused to come with us.”

15 Then Balak sent other officials, more numerous and more distinguished than the first. 16 They came to Balaam and said:

“This is what Balak son of Zippor says: Do not let anything keep you from coming to me, 17 because I will reward you handsomely and do whatever you say. Come and put a curse on these people for me.”

18 But Balaam answered them, “Even if Balak gave me all the silver and gold in his palace, I could not do anything great or small to go beyond the command of the Lord my God. 19 Now spend the night here so that I can find out what else the Lord will tell me.”

20 That night God came to Balaam and said, “Since these men have come to summon you, go with them, but do only what I tell you.”


KINGDOM DYNAMICS


The is the celebrated story of Balak and Balaam, and their attempt to curse Israel, and the baffling of that attempt; God’s people are long afterwards told to remember what Balak the king of Moab consulted, and what Balaam the son of Beor answered him, that they might know the righteousness of the Lord.

22:5 Balaam was from Mesopotamia, near the Euphrates. This is about 400 miles, nearly a month’s journey one way.

22:6 Balak, like all warriors in the ancient world, believes that the outcome of battles is determined by the gods; therefore, he believes the curse will enable him to defeat the Israelites.

22:8 The Lord in Hebrew is Yahweh, the name of the Israelite God. Balaam is seen as one who hears Yahweh, a prophet, even though not an Israelite (see v.18).

22:9 God came unto Balaam does not specify the means of revelation. Since it is at night, probably it is a vision or a dream.

22:13 In this first instance, Yahweh forbids Balaam to go. Since Yahweh later lets Balaam go, this refusal is best seen as a means of stressing the intention of Yahweh for the Israelites (see v.12)

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

Friday, May 25, 2018

YACHID

ISAAC – ABRAHAM’S UNIQUE MIRACLE CHILD


Genesis 21:1-8
New International Version (NIV)


THE BIRTH OF ISAAC
21 Now the Lord was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did for Sarah what he had promised. 2 Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him. 3 Abraham gave the name Isaac[a] to the son Sarah bore him. 4 When his son Isaac was eight days old, Abraham circumcised him, as God commanded him. 5 Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him.

6 Sarah said, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.” 7 And she added, “Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.”

8 The child grew and was weaned, and on the day Isaac was weaned 


KING DYNAMICS
22: 2 only son, yachid (yah-cheed); Yachid comes from the verb yachad, "to be one." Yachid describes Abraham’s unique miracle child, Isaac.

Isaac [Ī'zaac] he laugheth or laughing one. was born at Gerar when Abraham was one hundred years of age and Sarah was about ninety years old (Gen. 17:19, 21; 21:3-12; 22:2-9).


THE MAN WHOSE BIRTH CAUSED A LAUGH

Isaac is one of the few cases in the Bible in which God selected a name for a child and announced it before he was born.

Isaac’s beautiful and suggestive name, “he laughed,” commemorates the two laughings at the promise of God—the laughing of the father’s joy and the laughing of Sarah’s incredulity which soon passed into penitence and faith (Gen. 21:6). Isaac was the child of the covenant, “I will establish My covenant with him.”

There is no record of Isaac’s early life apart from the fact that he was circumcised when eight days of age (Gen. 21:4). According to Josephus, Isaac was twenty-five years of age, he was taken from Beer-sheba to the land of Moriah, where, as the burnt offering, Abraham presented him to God. While we have Abraham’s unquestioning faith in his submission to the divine command to offer up his only son, we must not forget Isaac’s supreme confidence in his father and also his willing consent to become the victim (Gen. 22:12; 26:5; Heb. 11:17). Thus, in Isaac, we have a type of Him who gave Himself for our sins. From the day of his surrender to death, Isaac became a dedicated man. “The altar sanctified the gift.

When his mother Sarah died, Isaac was a man of thirty-six and was deeply grieved over the death of his mother. Comfort was his when he took Rebekah as his wife to help fill the vacant place in his heart. To the credit of Isaac, it must be said that he was the only one of the patriarchs who had but one wife. It is also perfectly clear from the ancient idyll, one of the most beautiful in all literature, that Isaac left the choice of his wife to God. When the caravan bearing Rebekah neared home, Isaac was in the fields meditating or “praying,” as the margin expresses it (Gen. 24:63).

For many years Isaac and Rebekah were childless, but God heard Isaac’s prayers and Rebekah gave birth to twins, Jacob and Esau. Isaac seems to have outlived his wife and died at the age of 180 (Gen. 35:28). For some fifty years Isaac was almost blind, a sad and pitiful lot for God’s chosen one.

The character of Isaac, beautiful though it was in many ways, yet carried a few blots. He followed his father, Abraham, in deceitfulness when he called his wife his sister, bringing upon himself the rebuke of Abimelech. He also loved “savory food,” which should have been alien to a man so calm and still, lord of his passion and himself. Then in the matter of Esau and the blessing, Isaac surely rebelled against the Lord’s purpose.

Among the commendable features of his character, mention can be made of Isaac’s submission (Gen. 22:6, 9); meditation (Gen. 24:63); instinctive trust in God (Gen. 22:7, 8); deep devotion (Gen. 24:67; 25:21); peaceableness (Gen. 26:20-22); prayerfulness (Gen. 26:25); faith (Heb. 11:16, 17). “The fear of Isaac” (Gen. 31:42, 53), means the God tremblingly adored by the patriarch.

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

Thursday, May 24, 2018

THE NARROW DOOR

Luke 13:24-30
King James Version (KJV)

24Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.

25When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are:

26Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets.

27But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity.

28There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out.

29And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God.

30And, behold, there are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last.

In this parable, someone is asking the following question,

Are there few that are saved? Luke 13:23: —“If the saved be few? Master, I have heard thou shouldest say so; is it true?”  

13:24: The gate is strait (that is, narrow) because Christ is the only Door (John 10:7-9), and repentance and faith are the only means of admission.

13: 25-27: At the Last Judgment the door will be closed, and those who are now indifferent to Christ will claim acquaintance with Him. However, superficial knowledge about Christ and His teaching will not substitute for personal repentance and faith, which bring a true relationship with Him.

Reflections
We are to be warned that what we practice demonstrates our relationship with Jesus.  Never undervalue obedience. Know that many who expect divine approval will receive censure or even judgment instead. 

  • Consider this thought for a moment: You’ve looked at the above picture of Jesus knocking at the door, maybe a half of dozen times or more; and if some of you are like me, your first thought might have been something like, “oh, what a beautiful painting_”. Tell me, what did you think, if anything, beyond the beauty? Let me share my thoughts. Long before my in-depth study of God’s gospel, whenever I’d see any type of picture, portrait, or sketch of Jesus, I would experience a quickening in my spirit. I didn’t know then that the Holy Spirit within me was speaking to my heart. IT WAS JESUS KNOCKING!

Back to the question – This is where my study took me:  1. Perhaps it was a captious query. He put it to him, tempting him, with a design to ensnare him and lessen his reputation. If he should say that many would be saved, they would reproach him as too loose, and making salvation cheap; if few, they would reproach him as precise and strait-laced. The Jewish doctors said that all Israel should have a place in the world to come; and would he dare to contradict that?

2. Perhaps it was a curious question, a nice speculation, which he had lately been disputing upon with his companions, and they all agreed to refer it to Christ. Note, Many are more inquisitive respecting who shall be saved, and who not, than respecting what they shall do to be saved. Does this sound familiar?  If we are honest, we will admit that it is indeed a thought that is ever present in our mind. It is commonly asked, “May such and such be saved?” But it is well that we may be saved without knowing this.       3. Perhaps it was an admiring question. He had taken notice how strict the law of Christ was, and how bad the world was, and, comparing these together, cries out, “How few are there that will be saved!”

Jesus did not give a direct answer to this enquiry, for he came to guide our consciences, not to gratify our curiosity. Ask not, “How many shall be saved?” But, be they more or fewer, “Shall I be one of them?” Not, “What shall become of such and such, and what shall this man do?” But, “What shall I do, and what will become of me?” Now in Christ’s answer observe,

  • A quickening exhortation and direction: Strive to enter in at the strait gate. This is directed not to him only that asked the question, but to all, to us, it is in the plural number: Strive ye. Note, (1.) All that will be saved must enter in at the strait gate, must undergo a change of the whole man, such as amounts to no less than being born again, and must submit to a strict discipline. (2.) Those that would enter in at the strait gate must strive to enter. It is a hard matter to get to heaven, and a point that will not be gained without a great deal of care and pains, of difficulty and diligence. We must strive with God in prayer, wrestle as Jacob, and strive against sin and Satan. We must strive in every duty of religion; strive with our own hearts, agonizes the—“Be in an agony; strive as those that run for a prize; excite and exert ourselves to the / utmost.”

The day is coming when He will rise up, and shut to the door. Perhaps some of us may be asking, what door?   The below is what the WORD OF GOD says:


[1.] A door of distinction. Now, within the temple of the church there are carnal professors who worship in the outer-court and spiritual professors who worship within the veil; between these the door is now open, and they meet promiscuously in the same external performances. But, when the Master of the house is risen up, the door will be shut between them, that those who are in the outer-court may be kept out, and left to be trodden underfoot by the Gentiles, Rev. 11:2. As to those that are filthy, shut the door upon them, and let them be filthy still; that those who are within may be kept within, that those who are holy may be holy still. The door is shut to separate between the precious and the vile, that sinners may no longer stand in the congregation of the righteous. 
[2.] A door of denial and exclusion. The door of mercy and grace has long stood open to them, but they would not come in by it, would not be beholden to the favor of that door; they hoped to climb up some other way, and to get to heaven by their own merits, and therefore when the Master of the house is risen up he will justly shut that door; let them not expect to enter by it, but let them take their own measures. Thus, when Noah was safe in the ark, God shut the door, to exclude all those that depended upon shelters of their own in the approaching flood.

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

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

THE ABRAHAMIC COVENANT




Genesis 22:15-19 
New International Version (NIV)

15 The angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time16 and said, “I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, 18 and through your offspring[a]all nations on earth will be blessed,[b] because you have obeyed me.”

19 Then Abraham returned to his servants, and they set off together for Beersheba. And Abraham stayed in Beersheba.

KING DYNAMICS


22:16 By myself I have sworn: "Because he could swear by no greater, he swear by himself" (Heb.6:13). God also used this incident to settle the issue for all time. He does not approve of human sacrifice.

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.




Tuesday, May 22, 2018

THE LESSON FROM THE FILLED BOTTLES

SIGN OF THE WINE BOTTLES

 
Jeremiah 13:12-27
New International Version (NIV)

12 “Say to them: ‘This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Every wineskin should be filled with wine.’ And if they say to you, ‘Don’t we know that every wineskin should be filled with wine?’ 13 then tell them, ‘This is what the Lord says: I am going to fill with drunkenness all who live in this land, including the kings who sit on David’s throne, the priests, the prophets and all those living in Jerusalem. 14 I will smash them one against the other, parents and children alike, declares the Lord. I will allow no pity or mercy or compassion to keep me from destroying them.’”

Threat of Captivity

15 Hear and pay attention,
do not be arrogant,
for the Lord has spoken.

16 Give glory to the Lord your God
before he brings the darkness,
before your feet stumble
on the darkening hills.
You hope for light,
but he will turn it to utter darkness
and change it to deep gloom.

17 If you do not listen,
I will weep in secret
because of your pride;
my eyes will weep bitterly,
overflowing with tears,
because the Lord’s flock will be taken captive.


18 Say to the king and to the queen mother,
“Come down from your thrones,
for your glorious crowns
will fall from your heads.”

19 The cities in the Negev will be shut up,
and there will be no one to open them.
All Judah will be carried into exile,
carried completely away.


20 Look up and see
those who are coming from the north.
Where is the flock that was entrusted to you,
the sheep of which you boasted?

21 What will you say when the Lord sets over you
those you cultivated as your special allies?
Will not pain grip you
like that of a woman in labor?

22 And if you ask yourself,
“Why has this happened to me?”—
it is because of your many sins
that your skirts have been torn off
and your body mistreated.

23 Can an Ethiopian[a] change his skin
or a leopard its spots?
Neither can you do good
who are accustomed to doing evil.

24 “I will scatter you like chaff
driven by the desert wind.

25 This is your lot,
the portion I have decreed for you,”
declares the Lord,
“because you have forgotten me
and trusted in false gods.

26 I will pull up your skirts over your face
that your shame may be seen—

27 your adulteries and lustful neighings,
your shameless prostitution!
I have seen your detestable acts
on the hills and in the fields.
Woe to you, Jerusalem!

How long will you be unclean?”
                                                                                   
     

KING DYNAMICS

13:12-14 Jeremiah uses a familiar saying (v.12) and the imagery of drunkenness (v.13) to describe divine punishment for Jerusalem. Drunkenness will rob them of their ability to act, and then God will smash them like the bottles.

13:18 The king is probably Jehoiachin, and the queen is Nehushta (2 Kin. 24:8, 15).

13:20-27 Jeremiah describes the events relating to the invasion (vv. 20-23), and God states the reason for the action (vv.24-27). Jerusalem is personified as a woman, and because of her shamelessness (iniquity, v.22) she will experience sham (skirts discovered and heels made bare).

13:23 A rhetorical question demanding a negative answer.

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.

Monday, May 21, 2018

SIGN OF THE MARRED GIRDLE

(A LINEN BELT)


Jeremiah 13: 1-11

King James Version (KJV)


13 Thus saith the Lord unto me, Go and get thee a linen girdle, and put it upon thy loins, and put it not in water.

2 So I got a girdle according to the word of the LORD and put it on my loins.

3 And the word of the Lord came unto me the second time, saying,

4 Take the girdle that thou hast got, which is upon thy loins, and arise, go to Euphrates, and hide it there in a hole of the rock.

5 So I went, and hid it by Euphrates, as the Lord commanded me.

6 And it came to pass after many days, that the Lord said unto me, Arise, go to Euphrates, and take the girdle from thence, which I commanded thee to hide there.

7 Then I went to Euphrates, and digged, and took the girdle from the place where I had hid it: and, behold, the girdle was marred, it was profitable for nothing.

8 Then the word of the Lord came unto me, saying,

9 Thus saith the Lord, After this manner will I mar the pride of Judah, and the great pride of Jerusalem.

10 This evil people, which refuse to hear my words, which walk in the imagination of their heart, and walk after other gods, to serve them, and to worship them, shall even be as this girdle, which is good for nothing.

11 For as the girdle cleaveth to the loins of a man, so have I caused to cleave unto me the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah, saith the Lord; that they might be unto me for a people, and for a name, and for a praise, and for a glory: but they would not hear. Matt. 24:24; 2 Cor. 11:13-15; 1 Tim. 4:1-2


KINGDOM DYNAMICS


13:1-11 The linen girdle is the first of the symbolic acts Jeremiah used to convey God’s word to the people. Linen is the material used for priestly garment (Ezek. 44:17, 18) and symbolizes Israel as a "holy people" a "kingdom of priests" (Ex.19:6). The sash as an emblem of Israel, speaks of the intimate relationship of God to His covenant people (v.11)

13:1 Girdle: A belt in oriental cultures indicates status, as "black belt" used for achievement in the martial arts. Put it not in water: Symbolic of Judah’s sinful pride, the belt was not to be washed (v.9)

13:6-9 Euphrates: On the basis of location, some suggest Jeremiah’s experience is only a symbolic vision or a parable because he would hardly have made two trips to the Euphrates River hundreds of miles away. Perhaps the reference is to Parah (Josh. 18:23) which is 3 miles, northwest of Anathoth. The geographical destination is less important than the message that the sash is marred (v.7), and so God will mar the pride of Judah, and the great pride of Jerusalem (v.9).

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



Monday, January 22, 2018

DIVINE SPIRITUAL MATURITY (8)

GROWING IN CHRIST


Recap - Discernment grows as we read and study God’s Word, practice holy living as God desires, pray and ask, and gain experience. The discernment of spirits, is a spiritual gift communicated by the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:10). Associated with wisdom, it involves specific knowledge given supernaturally. Because of this, the gift of discernment is sometimes considered a special expression of the word of knowledge.

Resuming - As believers, we should always seek after wisdom. What’s more, as James 1:5 and 6 remind us, we can be sure we’ll receive it when we ask in faith! We must understand that discernment serves as a catalyst to spiritual development: “The mocker seeks wisdom and finds none, but knowledge comes easily to the discerning” (Prov. 14:6, NIV). Why? Because the discerning Christian goes to the heart of the matter. He knows something about everything, namely that all things have their common fountain in God. Increase in knowledge, therefore, does not lead to increased frustration, but to a deeper recognition of the harmony of all God’s works and words.

Discerning of spirits involves distinguishing between the three possible sources of spiritual motivation and activity. The three areas of spirit activity are:

- The Spirit of God: Utmost important is being able to discern the activity of the Holy Spirit; He will also give the ability to recognize the activity and presence of angels.

-The spirit of man: It involves perceiving the true motivation or intent behind a person’s words or actions. Peter, for example, determined that Simon’s heart was not right in asking for authority to lay hands on individuals to impart the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:17-24).

- The spirit of Satan: Discerning the spirit of Satan or demons includes identifying when someone has a demonic problem, or determining when something is from Satan rather than God. Jesus demonstrated this type of discernment when He rebuked Peter by saying, “Get behind Me, Satan.” He rightly determined that Peter’s declaration came from Satan and was contrary to God’s purpose (Matt. 16:22-23).
  
How is such discernment to be obtained? We receive it as did Christ Himself—by the anointing of the Spirit, through our understanding of God’s Word, by our experience of God’s grace, and by the progressive unfolding to us of the true condition of our own hearts.

That is why we also should pray, “I am your servant; give me discernment” (Ps. 119:125, NIV).

Finally - Refining These Powerful Gift

But solid food belongs to those who are of full age… who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” (Heb. 5:14)

Our Lord is bringing new heights of discernment to His people—discernment is like a weapon we can shoot and use often. If we desire to grow in the gift of discernment:

- Ask! We have a good heavenly Father who gives good gifts.

- Resolve to fellowship with believers who can help guide us as you gain experience.

- Pursue wisdom.

- Keep in mind that, like all gifts related to the prophetic, the purpose of discernment is to bring life and to build up the body of Christ—not to tear down.

By means of holy and divine discernment, we will be able to expose deception as well as recognize the presence of angels in order to cooperate with them to bring in the harvest!


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