Archive for February, 2010

At the 3D Bible Study on Wednesday we’ve been examining the book of 2 Kings. This last week I shared in the ministry with “The Life and Times of Joash the King” from chapter 12. If ever one could see the results of making bad choices, this king exemplifies it. What began as such a hopeful, promising reign ended in deep sadness.

Thank the Lord for Godly believers as Jehoiada that could give real promise and hope for God’s purpose and Israel in general. As long as this old priest lived, Joash was influenced for God.

For a closer look at Joash and his reign, click the below link to further examine his life.

2 KIngs 12 – The Life and Times of Joash the King

J. Robert Hanson


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Mark 10:15 NIV

15 I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.

My son and daughter-in-law came to visit Friday and stayed the night. In the morning we listened to some music John has written that we hadn’t heard yet. One of the pieces was what I believe he called Soaring. He just mentioned the name to my granddaughter Selah and she immediately got excited. You see, there is something unusual about this piece of music. As I sat on the couch I witnessed it myself.

It seems this music has the ability to make every child under the age of 3 fly. And as it began to play Selah and Jack-Jack (who was sitting on Jen’s lap a the time) were suddenly lifted into the air, arms extending and bodies moving forward. The smile on Selah’s face was memorable. She kept describing the event as Tinkerbell flying. She would come to one end of the house and lean aerodynamically as plane would, banking and turning. Her left arm would dip and the right arm would rise. Majestically, both she and Jack-Jack flew as if they were real fly-boys of the 20th century. Jack-Jack was a little more conservative as his flight only took him around the chair—pilot in training I guess. But Selah, her flight went around the room lasting the whole of the 3-minute piece of music.

She could tell when her flight was going to end, as the music was wrapping up she kept crying again, again, again! So, I played it again (ha). And off they both went into the skies of the home on 619 Shady Lane. For some reason John was out of breath by the end of the whole experience. Go figure.

That is what believing like a child is all about. They simply knew that with this piece of music they would become airborne. And so that simple belief encouraged mother and father to act the impossible on behalf of their children. Fun stuff. Now, if only it worked for 52 year old grandpas, wouldn’t that be a sight not soon forgotten. Oh well, guess I need more flying instructions.

J. Robert Hanson

Proof that they really do fly!

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A. W. Tozer – The Mystery of the Holy Spirit

“The Holy Spirit is friendly. We try to make Him something else but friendly, but He is friendly. Because He is friendly He can be grieved. We can grieve Him by ignoring Him, by resisting Him, by doubting Him or by sinning against Him. We grieve Him by refusing to obey Him, by turning our back on Him.”

My daughter Becky gave me a wonderful little book that I am really enjoying, The Mystery of the Holy Spirit by A. W. Tozer. It is filled with some great insights as to who the Holy Spirit is. One little nugget that I found today was the afore mentioned quote, “The Holy Spirit is friendly.” I’ve thought about the Holy Spirit from many different aspects over the years, but never in terms of being friendly. And as the representative of Christ in this world, why shouldn’t I have considered Him as friendly before? The Lord tells His disciples they were no longer considered servants but friends – and the Holy Spirit perfectly presents Christ to us. The Lord sends Him as the Comforter into this world to be with us. And He is faithfully considered the Helper of all who put their trust in Jesus Christ. So why wouldn’t He be my friend?

The viewpoint that He is some austere force working authoritatively to produce holiness and righteousness is actually an inaccurate and erroneous outlook. When I see the Holy Spirit’s friendliness I’m inspired to relax and let my friend do His work in my life! To make Him out to be something else is to decide I really don’t want His influence. Ignoring, resisting, doubting, refusing to obey are but ways of sinning and turning my back on my friend – rather Judas like in betrayal as I think about it. And as Tozer points out, “Because He is friendly He can be grieved.” I know when as a friend I am spurred for kindness it grieves me. How much more the Holy Spirit that indwells me? So, if the Spirit of God – Our Friend wants to do some changing, let me return the kindness and let Him work! He’s my friend.

J. Robert Hanson

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A Mariner’s Greatest Fear

Mark 4:36-41 NIV

35 That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” 36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” 39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. 40 He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” 41 They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him”

One of a mariner’s greatest fears is to find themselves in the middle of the sea faced with a terrible storm. Apart from the vessel you find yourself in, there is really not much in the way of protection. A mariner is at the total mercy of nature. His situation is a dire one that cannot be remedied with the blink of an eye.

After a very long day of teaching and ministering the Lord decides he and the disciples must travel across the sea to continue the work He was called to fulfill. The activities of the day apparently caught up with Him and He fell fast asleep in the stern of the ship. So deep was His sleep and peaceful His rest that as a violent storm suddenly came upon them, He remained slumbering. This storm was threatening even to the point that these experienced fishermen worried for their wellbeing. Soon they woke the Master, He stilled the wind and sea then challenged their faith.

“Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” What an interesting assessment. Here were experienced mariners facing the dread of every seaman/fisherman and He challenges their faith. What was so different about this situation? It’s as if the Lord is implying that every storm at sea that a mariner may find can be stilled by a word of faith. I’m inclined to think it has more to do with who is in the ship not what condition is the ship in. The unusual variable in this situation is the Lord in the boat. Mariners have been stuck in troubled seas for centuries and will continue to be. What makes the difference in case is the fact the Lord is in the ship. If He is there, it will not fail. If He is center, it shall not sink. Where He is master, the waves will be stilled. And so, if we are found doing His will He can freely ask the question, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” Just make sure you are in the same boat He is in. This is His will!

J. Robert Hanson

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Mark 1:1 NIV

1 The beginning of the gospel about Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

I’ve heard for years that each of the four gospels presents a different aspect of who Jesus Christ is. The one I’m focusing on in this writing is the gospel of Mark, which many determine to portray the characteristic of Jesus as the servant of God. It is somewhat curious to determine just how that possibly developed. We know the four writers of each gospel did not sit down beforehand and discuss who would give what representation. According to F.F. Bruce, the gospel of Mark was the first written and done so shortly before AD 60. Luke fell between 60 and 70 AD with Matthew following shortly after AD 70. He places John’s gospel to have been written between 90 and 100 AD.

As the Christian faith grew it became more apparent that a historical account of the life and times of Jesus must be recorded. With heresies beginning to flood the fledgling faith, exact and accurate perspectives had to be written to reveal just precisely who Jesus of Nazareth was. And so we have four different characteristics of the God/Man. Since they were developed incrementally, one could pick up and present a viewpoint the other had not. These writings quickly assimilated and passed freely between churches as revealed inspirationally by the Holy Spirit.

In this case I focus on Mark. He was a relative of Barnabas, a companion of Paul, and originally in fellowship with brethren in Jerusalem. This afforded him direct contact with the Twelve Apostles. What better position could there have been to collate information directly obtained from those who had firsthand accounts, eyewitnesses if you will. First, there is little doubt Mark with a relative so prominently held in honor by the apostles, was invited to listen in on story after story as Barnabas heard the twelve rehearse the signs, works and words of Christ to the many new followers in Jerusalem. Second, as a companion in travel with the Apostle Paul, Mark was in a perfect place to glean from the accounts that he had heard and learned. Paul, who was the most prolific writer of the New Testament, had his own inquires from eyewitness of the life of Jesus the Messiah. And, it would be wise to remember also that Paul enjoyed his own personal revelation, experience and knowledge of the presence of the Lord. No doubt Paul communicated many truths to Mark as they worked and travelled. Finally, having lived in Jerusalem, Mark was in close proximity to the many thousands still alive, those who had heard and experienced the miracles and instructions of the Lord firsthand. He was in a position to interview those who had heard Jesus teach in the temple. He could maybe even ask questions of the those who were there singing, “Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” as Christ entered Jerusalem.

In case one has questions as to the validity and accuracy of such a work, we must remember Mark wrote them, as noted, while many eyewitnesses were still alive. Any of these easily could refute error immediately and take issue with misrepresentations. Of course, there were no challenges forthcoming, and Mark’s text held true. This just gives further irrefutable evidence as to the inspiration, power and enabling of the Holy Spirit in directing Mark in such a great undertaking. And as the first historical record written, one can understand full well why so much is communicated in general terms and not as specific as the other synoptic gospels. Mark was presenting the first historical account. He was writing about the immediate life and times of Jesus. Details of Jesus’ birth and origins were to be assumed by others later. Mark’s presentation was to write of Jesus and His service to humanity. And so we find Jesus as the servant of God, stately written and examined throughout the gospel of Mark.

J. Robert Hanson

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Keeping the Old Fresh

2 Chronicles 35:18-19 NIV

18 The Passover had not been observed like this in Israel since the days of the prophet Samuel; and none of the kings of Israel had ever celebrated such a Passover as did Josiah, with the priests, the Levites and all Judah and Israel who were there with the people of Jerusalem. 19 This Passover was celebrated in the eighteenth year of Josiah’s reign.

The eighteen-year old king made a difference in the Passover that had not been experienced since the days of Samuel. That is a good many years between! Something had clicked in the head of this young king that brought back the importance and significance of this age-old ceremony. What ignited and made this old observance fresh? In cleaning the house of God at the king’s command, the priest’s discovered the long forgotten Book of God. It was read to Josiah and he immediately understood its reality and significance responding by obeying the commands.

What keeps the old fresh for the believer in Jesus Christ? In the same way Josiah read the Book and was refreshed, so also the Christian reads God’s Word and is renewed to serve. When God’s people fail to study the Book they are called to walk in, things begin to breakdown, are forgotten and ignored. And to think, an eighteen-year old young man who had a desire for God energized the whole recovery. Sometimes it takes the old time reading of the scriptures to remind us what God says for keeping the old fresh.

J. Robert Hanson

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The simple flashing light on the street corner is a metaphor for life. Let me illustrate a spiritual principle by reading a verse from the bible.

Romans 13:13

13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.

Let’s look at the “Walk” sign first. It reads, Let us walk honestly. “Honestly” in the Greek literally means in “good appearance.”  Kenneth Wuest says the word honestly, “Gives an honest impression of themselves [a believer] to the world. They should conduct themselves in a manner befitting their high station in life, as saints of the Most High God. Their outward expression should conform to their inner regenerated being.” Be what you are! It does absolutely no good to try to act as someone you can never be. Give an honest impression of yourself to the world.

But what if “the way things are” isn’t “the way things ought to be”? In fact, what if the “good appearance” outside is not an “honest” representation of the inside? If you have come to Christ regeneration is a fact. It does not matter whether you feel regenerated or not. There are times, I can assure you, when you will not feel regenerated at all. This isn’t a matter of unholy living; it’s just how I may emotionally feel at a given moment. Walking in “Newness of Life” says to me, be honest with yourself and give an honest impression – show a good appearance. You’ve been raised in Christ, conduct yourself in a manner befitting that high station – walk honestly with a good appearance!

The true hypocrite is the one who has a particular station in life and lives another. It’s the rich person that is ashamed of the family name and lives a dual life. We don’t tell that person “go ahead, stop being a hypocrite and ruin your life with immoral behavior and depravity.” We try to get them to see the privilege of the family name and inspire to rise to the occasion. Walk with a good appearance and the feelings will follow is what we are saying to that individual. We don’t tell them to go out and do drugs, live how you feel best. We suggest, the walk sign is lit and it’s time to cross the street in an honest, dignified, stately manner.

The “Don’t Walk” sign flashes a different perspective. This time we read it from the NASB.

Romans 13:13 NASB

13 Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy.

We find listed six flashing “Don’t Walk” warnings; these are signs that will not only ruin your testimony as a believer, but will bring destruction down upon your life in general. And these six things read like the front page of a TMZ magazine. Our society makes sport of people who ignore and go right through the flashing “Don’t Walk” signs. It pays top dollars to photographers who can catch celebrities walking in this sort of ruinous behavior. And you know what the “paparazzi” loves the most? When they can photograph a child of God with “newness of life” behaving like this; it becomes a headline story.

The “Don’t Walk” sign on the street corner is a symbol of danger. It flashes red declaring the possibility that real harm lies ahead if disregarded. How insightful it is to see how specific Paul was in naming ways not to walk. To ignore the “Don’t Walk” signs is to leave your life open to long-term devastation and ruin.

Every individual, regenerated or not, stands on the corner of “Walk/Don’t Walk.” No one escapes the message; none are higher than the consequences. It is that choice we face everyday when we come to intersections in life. I can choose to walk honestly or act dishonest with myself. What do you do when faced with “Walk/Don’t Walk”?

J. Robert Hanson

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