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Archive for July, 2011

7 You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah.

10 Many are the woes of the wicked, but the Lord’s unfailing love surrounds the man who trusts in him. 11 Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you righteous; sing, all you who are upright in heart! (NIV)

There are tangible results we enjoy when we know that God has forgiven us! The three above verses are indicators of happiness springing from reconciliation. These, in turn, are confirmations of union with God. They are things we can count on for deliverance in moments of doubt.

The Hiding Place“You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.”

The first thing discovered in forgiveness is a hiding place. While living in transgression we hid things from God, with reconciliation we encounter God hiding us from the rising storms. You’ll notice that once you’ve confessed your sins you’ve been exposed and feel very vulnerable. Embarrassment, shame and other emotions seek to prevail upon the soul. God knows your sin, people know your sin, and worst, the devil knows your sin. And, as an adversary, Satan seeks to exploit you in times of defenselessness.

But God says, not so fast, I have a hiding place for the forgiven soul! He will protect you from trouble; He keeps you from danger. Forgiveness opens the door to His hiding place—lending time to heal.

The Unfailing Love“but the Lord’s unfailing love surrounds the man who trusts in him.”

The second thing resulting from forgiveness is the experience of God’s unfailing love! The tendency is to think that the Lord is like man, we can only hurt Him so many times and then He’s through with us. Not so, God’s love is much different and deeper than that. The Lord’s unfailing love surrounds the man who trusts in Him! His love does not give up or vanish when scorned. Sure, He may hide His face from the transgressor, but the forgiven experience that He will never leave or forsake them.

The Message Bible reads, “10 God-defiers are always in trouble; God-affirmers find themselves loved every time they turn around.” The love of God gives up on no one! Husbands may give up on wives, wives may give up on husbands, friends may give up on friends, but the love of God never gives up on us! Knowing God’s unfailing love is an ingredient to finding happiness in forgiveness—this is always God’s goal for those who trust in Him!

The Singing Heart“Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you righteous; sing, all you who are upright in heart!”

The final result of forgiveness is the singing heart. People sing all the time. They sing in sorrow and pain, they sing in moments of emotional highs. But there is a special anthem, a song of praise for the forgiven. Let’s read verse 11 with contemporary twist using the Message Bible:

“Celebrate God. Sing together – everyone! All you honest hearts, raise the roof!”

The heart that experiences, enjoys, and realizes forgiveness celebrates in that liberation. Sadness and sorrows accompany those who hide and cover their sin—the only songs the transgressor sings are the blues of this world. The planet is full of folks who have too little or too much to celebrate in life. The forgiven are full of songs that lead to a pure celebration! The forgiven realize the greatest songs of joy are experienced when the liberation of a heart from sin takes place.

In summary, God gives a hiding place for our joyful hearts to sing of His unfailing love! Let the happiness of God’s forgiveness reign in your soul!

J. Robert Hanson

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Ephesians 2:6-7 NIV

6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.

The word “show” does not simply mean to tell a story, the strength of the word in the Greek is much richer. “Endeiknumi” is a practical demonstration of something! The idea is that of putting on a display and giving visible proof while appealing to facts. The most effective way to prove the worth of a thing is by hands-on demonstration.

In the early 60’s, before the invention of the infomercial, one of the first products to use the famous red-and-white “As Seen On TV” logo was a kitchen appliance called the Veg-O-Matic. The device was shaped like a capital letter “H” and had an operating handle on top with a spring loaded mechanism. You placed your vegetable above a set of blades and slammed the moving handle down on top of the produce. In the olden times, the only way to chop an onion was with a knife. This revolutionary product delivered no more tears for chopping onions.

The key to sales was cleverly showing a practical demonstration of the product on TV! Veg-O-Matics sold in the thousands as the presenter enthusiastically declared, “It slices! It dices!” The founder and owner of Veg-O-Matic would eventual sell his business for 56 million dollars. Not bad for just slicing a bunch of veggies.

Much like the Veg-O-Matic—seeing it makes it believable—so too do we show God’s kindness to this world in a practical demonstration! It’s one thing to talk about the kindness of God, it’s quite another to see it working before your eyes. And, believe it or not, people will see God’s kindness working in your life.

(NIV) Ephesians 2:10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

The display of His kindness is witnessed in the good works that God prepared in advance for you and I to do. This is not the good works of the flesh, but good works He’s created. The idea is simply that God defined what the good works were—then, you and I become His “hands-on display” of those works! We read of the Lord Jesus saying in Matthew 5:16, “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” (NIV) These good works are our shining before men—spiritual Veg-O-Matics so to speak.

One final thought about this word  “show,” Kenneth Wuest notes that the Greek word in this verse appears in the middle voice, meaning the subject of the verb acts in his own interest.¹ In short, God displays His kindness to believers for His own glory in order that He may be glorified. That’s why He prepared the good works in advance. In someway our live and living demonstration is His works resulting from His workmanship and poetry. You and I are the hands-on display of God’s kindness—and the spectators, those tuning in, Wuest says, are men and angels.

J. Robert Hanson


¹ Wuest, Kenneth, Word Studies in the Greek New Testament, Vol. I, 1973, Ephesians and Colossians in the Greek New Testament, p.68

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There are six men listed in Colossians 4:10-14 as examples of ministers involved with Paul in one way or another. Today, when we hear the word minister in context of Christianity, the first picture our culture paints in our heads is preaching and teaching. However, to Paul a minister was much more than just the gifted ability to speak words. The Greek word Paul uses most commonly for ministers, or ministries is “diakonia. We see it used in 1 Corinthians 12 when Paul writes:

4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord.

The Lord gives a variety of ministries. While preaching and teaching are examples of two, we find that practical helping of needs is also included. Serving is another way this word is translated. We see just such an example of a serving type of ministering with Epaphroditus in Philippians 2:

25 I have thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus my brother and fellow worker and fellow soldier, and your messenger and minister to my need,

The man represented the Philippians in ministering to the Apostle Paul’s personal needs. The verse implies that if there were any physical issues with Paul, this man helped out the older gentlemen. It was a very different and difficult society they lived in. No doubt, within the rigors of travel, Epaphroditus carried bags, food, led donkeys; whatever the physically needs of those days were. He was a spiritual skycap to Paul as he journeyed—and doing so without expecting to be tipped. This was a minister!

Another way we see “diakonia” in action is the offering of finances to the church or God’s work. Paul uses this word in 2 Corinthians 9 when writing:

12 For the ministry of this service is not only fully supplying the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing through many thanksgivings to God. 13 Because of the proof given by this ministry, they will glorify God for your obedience to your confession of the gospel of Christ and for the liberality of your contribution to them and to all,

Give of substance was a necessity for seeing the work, or even a church, continue. It takes money to do things. Folks realized this was a necessity and they ministered out of their abundance to help. There is an amazing example in Luke 8 of this type of activity in the Lord’s ministry.

“3 and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s household manager, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their means.”

These women were seen as ministers, they gave from their substance to help spread the Gospel. We’re told at the end of the gospels, as Jesus was condemned and walking the Via Dolorosa, these were women who followed Him at a distance, they once ministered to Him in Galilee[1]. And though we never read of them joining the Apostles—going out two-by-two to preach on treacherous journeys—they are considered ministers ministering to the Lord’s needs nonetheless.

In conclusion we can identify at least three ways ministers are recognized in the New Testament: communicators of the Word, comforters of needs and contributors of finances. All a very necessary and needed within the church.

J. Robert Hanson


[1] Matthew 27:55

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