Look at this beautiful and succinct Psalm. Man is given no hope whatsoever at the outset of the writing as he is noted to be helpless in his sins. No man pursues righteousness and we are dead in our trespasses. This Psalm was written 1000 years before Christ was born. The Psalm gives us hope, however, in the later part. The hope comes out of Zion. Salvation comes out of Zion. Original Jerusalem under the Israelites was referred to as Mount Zion. The reference to Mount Zion is actually a reference to Jesus Christ, the Author of salvation. Acts 4:12 “There is no other name written under heaven whereby we may be saved.”
1 The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity; There is none that doeth good. 2 God looked down from heaven upon the children of men, To see if there were any that did understand, That did seek after God. 3 Every one of them is gone back; They are together become filthy; There is none that doeth good, no, not one. 4 Have the workers of iniquity no knowledge, Who eat up my people as they eat bread, And call not upon God? 5 There were they in great fear, where no fear was; For God hath scattered the bones of him that encampeth against thee: Thou hast put them to shame, because of God hath rejected them. 6 Oh that the salvation of Israel were come out of Zion! When God bringeth back the captivity of his people, Then shall Jacob rejoice, and Israel shall be glad.
Psalms 53:1-6 (ASV)
The doctrines of repentance and contrition over sin are omitted in most churches today. Without this foundational understanding of salvation, one cannot possibly be saved. Before one needs a Savior, they must first realize that they are a sinner. The church is a lost and found department. We are warned about the lack of spiritual receptivity in the hearts of men in the last days…….
II Timothy 4:3-4 “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”
How true! During the time of Israel’s apostasy in the book of Judges, the individual families hired their own custom priests to lead them. ….”every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” Today we observe a softer Gospel which omits the essential saving elements of the real Gospel. If you read the Bible continually, you will recognize the counterfeit.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is an institution that use to resonate with fidelity, bravery and integrity, three attributes which are still printed on their seal. During their long introductory period under J. Edgar Hoover, they were very well known for success in apprehending dangerous criminals during the gangster era. They held a high standard of ethics and morals, and if you saw the old story with Jimmy Stewart playing an FBI agent, that is the way it truly was. Their dress, manner and professionalism were respected throughout our nation, and later on by the world. Hoover had a comical book written about himself after his long tenure of leadership called “No Left Turns.” The title came from the true story that Hoover was in a car accident involving a left turn, so he ordered his chauffer to make only right turns. Yes, that is right, he would make three right turns rather than a left turn. Now, figure that into Washington, D.C.’s plethora of one way streets, circles, and unique traffic patterns. How would you like to be Hoover’s chauffer? Another true story in the book tells of Hoover entering an elevator with FBI agents at their headquarters building. Hoover saw a man on the elevator dressed in a bright red suit. After exiting the elevator he asked his peers: “Who was that red breasted rooster?” The agents told him who he was and Hoover responded that he wanted him fired immediately, and of course he was indeed terminated on the spot.
Along with the rest of the country, the Bureau lost its’ conservativeness and high moral standards during the 1970’s. Although the FBI still had better standards than many other agencies and bureaus, the direction of our culture affected all government agencies. When I worked there, our divisions were called one by one for an in service training that was called the “sliding scale.” My peers and I were the benefactors of “take home cars” because of the need to respond to different places everyday. The official FBI rule was that one was to take their vehicle straight home from their work site, stopping ONLY for gasoline. But, as so often happens, unofficial “rules” are added and/or modified. Later, it was “said” that we were allowed one stop. If you can see one stop eventually becoming two, you are getting the picture! Before you know it, people were not heading home, but stopping off to see friends, go shopping and attend events, and not necessarily in the homebound direction. Or suppose you get home on a winter’s day and your wife says: Honey, we need bread and milk.” Your choice is to clean the snow and ice off of your car and warm it up, OR just take the Bureau steed which is all ready to go. Sooner or later some employee will have an accident. If the accident was not on the way home, there is the temptation for the one involved to not report it, and even have repair work done on their own so no one finds out. Our in service training hit the nail on the head. The Sliiiiiiiding scale! We start out as employees who obey the rules and take pride in our job. Then we cut corners. Eventually we are abusing and blatantly disobeying the rules. It does not happen overnight. It is not a blowout, it is a slow leak…….
Is this not the way it is in the Christian life? We Baptists have a name for the identical situation in our lives—— it is called backsliding. We never intended to leave the sheepfold, but we gradually fall away from a close walk with the Lord. I have found one particular sin that can lead to many others; it is not an outward sin but an inward one. It is discouragement. Everybody around me is doing the wrong thing and they seem to be getting away with it. Have you ever thought that way? Read Psalm 37 and Psalm 73. Their day of reckoning is coming down the pike. It is right around the corner. Here is a scripture we need to live by: “Be ye not weary in well doing, for ye shall reap in due season if ye faint not.” (Galatians 6:9) All born again Christians struggle with sins of the flesh. How do we do combat in this battle? Read the Bible continually. “Pray without ceasing.” (I Thessalonians 5:17) Forsake not the fellowshipping and worshipping with other Christians (Hebrews 10:25). Share your faith with others—- you will do this automatically when you are walking close with the Lord. Be filled with and led by the Holy Spirit in all you do. Do these things 24/7/365 and you will not give Satan an opportunity to steer you off course. When we walk with the Lord we shine. If you see a bother or sister who does not seem to be themselves, then pray for them, befriend them and talk to them. I may be struggling today and you may have challenges tomorrow. One hand washes the other. “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2) In The Name Of Jesus, Pastor Steve
An earnest plea to build faith in the resurrection not on worldly power but on God
1 Hear this, all ye peoples; Give ear, all ye inhabitants of the world, 2 Both low and high, Rich and poor together. 3 My mouth shall speak wisdom; And the meditation of my heart shall be of understanding. 4 I will incline mine ear to a parable: I will open my dark saying upon the harp. 5 Wherefore should I fear in the days of evil, When iniquity at my heels compasseth me about?
6 They that trust in their wealth, And boast themselves in the multitude of their riches; 7 None of them can by any means redeem his brother, Nor give to God a ransom for him; 8 (For the redemption of their life is costly, And it faileth for ever;) 9 That he should still live alway, That he should not see corruption. 10 For he shall see it. Wise men die; The fool and the brutish alike perish, And leave their wealth to others. 11 Their inward thought is, that their houses shall continue for ever, And their dwelling-places to all generations; They call their lands after their own names. 12 But man being in honor abideth not: He is like the beasts that perish. 13 This their way is their folly: Yet after them men approve their sayings. Selah 14 They are appointed as a flock for Sheol; Death shall be their shepherd; And the upright shall have dominion over them in the morning; And their beauty shall be for Sheol to consume, That there be no habitation for it.
15 But God will redeem my soul from the power of Sheol; For he will receive me. Selah 16 Be not thou afraid when one is made rich, When the glory of his house is increased. 17 For when he dieth he shall carry nothing away; His glory shall not descend after him. 18 Though while he lived he blessed his soul (And men praise thee, when thou doest well to thyself,) 19 He shall go to the generation of his fathers; They shall never see the light. 20 Man that is in honor, and understandeth not, Is like the beasts that perish.
“I am telling you if there is a God, when I get to heaven I’m not stopping to be interviewed. I am heading straight in. I have earned my place in heaven. It’s not even close.” –Former NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg, the 15th-richest man in the world.
Like most of you, I have worked in a secular job and environment for a long time. In my case, for well over twenty years in law enforcement. While working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the realm of Foreign Counter Intelligence, I received extensive training in developing “character assessment” on the individuals we pursued in surveillance. We found the Russians from the former Soviet Union (USSR) somewhat amusing. The men, when accompanied with their wives, would sit in the front seats of their cars, and the wife would ride in the back seat. At least they did not put them in their trunk. They also usually walked ahead of them and not side by side.
While taking in service training at Quantico, Virginia, we learned the “Halo/Horns” Effect. I have found that there is real Biblical truth in this teaching, NOT that our government leans extensively towards the truth of our faith, but sometimes they do stumble on to something. i.e. “Even a blind hog will find an acorn once in awhile,” and “If you throw enough mud against a wall, some of it will stick.” The theory goes as follows: We must be careful not to have a tainted view towards an individual simply because we either like them, or we do not like them. I must be careful and not harbor the idea that my friend can do no wrong. Our friends all have many fine qualities, but if we are not careful, we can overlook the sins and trespasses of those who are close to us. We end up doing them a disservice through appeasing and placating them. The book of Proverbs tells us that: “The wounds of a friend are better than the kisses of an enemy,” and “A fool despises wisdom, but a wise man receives correction and it makes him wiser still.” No one is perfect, and if we want to be true to God and our friends, there are times when we can be loving and transparent and help them become stronger believers through the sharing of advice and counsel as we feel led by the Holy Spirit. Likewise, we must realize that our enemies and those of whom we have nothing in common, nonetheless all have good qualities. If we are not careful we can erroneously paint them as totally evil through our own convoluted and biased logic. When that happens, our desire to pray for them will be eroded. We will observe them through rose colored glasses. Their actions that turn us against them may be something that we do not understand. Also, if we search for good in them we will indeed find it (people get what they are looking for). …And when we find the good in them, God can use our positive thoughts to change our entire attitude about them. Folks, the fact of the matter is that we are all sanctified in spots, and we all have weaknesses that are as profound as our strengths. We all carry baggage as well. You do not believe that? Then carefully do an extensive character study of anyone in the Bible (except for Jesus because He alone is perfect), or better yet, take an honest look at yourself. You think about that….
Blessings, Pastor Steve
By DANIEL ESTRIN May 6, 2014 10:24 AM
In this Thursday, May 1, 2014, photo, Eli Shukron, an archeologist formerly with Israel’s Antiquities Authority, walks in the City of David archaeological site near Jerusalem’s Old City. Shukron, who excavated at the site for nearly two decades, says he believes there is strong evidence that it is the legendary citadel captured by King David in his conquest of Jerusalem, rekindling a longstanding academic and political debate about using the Bible as a field guide to identifying ancient ruins. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)
JERUSALEM (AP) — An Israeli archaeologist says he has found the legendary citadel captured by King David in his conquest of Jerusalem, rekindling a longstanding debate about using the Bible as a field guide to identifying ancient ruins.
The claim by Eli Shukron, like many such claims in the field of biblical archaeology, has run into criticism. It joins a string of announcements by Israeli archaeologists saying they have unearthed palaces of the legendary biblical king, who is revered in Jewish religious tradition for establishing Jerusalem as its central holy city — but who has long eluded historians looking for clear-cut evidence of his existence and reign.
The present-day Israeli-Palestinian conflict is also wrapped up in the subject. The $10 million excavation, made accessible to tourists last month, took place in an Arab neighborhood of Jerusalem and was financed by an organization that settles Jews in guarded homes in Arab areas of east Jerusalem in an attempt to prevent the city from being divided. The Palestinians claim east Jerusalem, captured by Israel in 1967, as the capital of a future independent state.
Shukron, who excavated at the City of David archaeological site for nearly two decades, says he believes strong evidence supports his theory.
“This is the citadel of King David, this is the Citadel of Zion, and this is what King David took from the Jebusites,” said Shukron, who said he recently left Israel’s Antiquities Authority to work as a lecturer and tour guide. “The whole site we can compare to the Bible perfectly.”
Most archaeologists in Israel do not dispute that King David was a historical figure, and a written reference to the “House of David” was found in an archaeological site in northern Israel. But archaeologists are divided on identifying Davidic sites in Jerusalem, which he is said to have made his capital.
.. View gallery
In this Thursday, May 1, 2014, photo, Eli Shukron, …
In this Thursday, May 1, 2014, photo, Eli Shukron, an archeologist formerly with Israel’s Antiqu …
Shukron’s dig, which began in 1995, uncovered a massive fortification of five-ton stones stacked 21 feet (6 meters) wide. Pottery shards helped date the fortification walls to be 3,800 years old. They are the largest walls found in the region from before the time of King Herod, the ambitious builder who expanded the Second Jewish Temple complex in Jerusalem almost 2,100 years ago. The fortification surrounded a water spring and is thought to have protected the ancient city’s water source.
The fortification was built 800 years before King David would have captured it from its Jebusite rulers. Shukron says the biblical story of David’s conquest of Jerusalem provides clues that point to this particular fortification as David’s entry point into the city.
In the second Book of Samuel, David orders the capture of the walled city by entering it through the water shaft. Shukron’s excavation uncovered a narrow shaft where spring water flowed into a carved pool, thought to be where city inhabitants would gather to draw water. Excess water would have flowed out of the walled city through another section of the shaft Shukron said he discovered — where he believes the city was penetrated.
Shukron says no other structure in the area of ancient Jerusalem matches what David would have captured to take the city. The biblical account names it the “Citadel of David” and the “Citadel of Zion.”
Ronny Reich, who was Shukron’s collaborator at the site until 2008, disagrees with the theory. He said more broken pottery found from the 10th century BC, presumably King David’s reign, should have been found if the fortification had been in use then.
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In this Thursday, May 1, 2014, photo, Eli Shukron, …
In this Thursday, May 1, 2014, photo, Eli Shukron, an archeologist formerly with Israel’s Antiqu …
Shukron said he only found two shards that date close to that time. He believes the reason he didn’t find more is because the site was in continuous use and old pottery would have been cleared out by David’s successors. Much larger quantities of shards found at the site date to about 100 years after King David’s reign.
Reich said it was not possible to reach definitive conclusions about biblical connections without more direct archaeological evidence.
“The connection between archaeology and the Bible has become very, very problematic in recent years,” Reich said.
Critics say that some archaeologists are too eager to hold a spade in one hand and a Bible in the other in a quest to verify the biblical narrative — either due to religious beliefs or to prove the Jewish people’s historic ties to the land. But other respected Israeli archaeologists say recent finds match the biblical account more than naysayers claim.
Shukron, a veteran archaeologist who has excavated a number of significant sites in Jerusalem, said he drew his conclusions after nearly two decades exploring the ancient city.
“I know every little thing in the City of David. I didn’t see in any other place such a huge fortification as this,” said Shukron.
The biblical connection to the site is emphasized at the City of David archaeological park, where the “Spring Citadel” — the excavation’s official name — has been retrofitted for tourists, including a movie projected on a screen in front of the fortification to illustrate how it may have looked 3,800 years ago. The City of David — located in east Jerusalem — is one of the most popular tourist sites in the holy city, with 500,000 tourists visiting last year.
“We open the Bible and we see how the archaeology and the Bible actually come together in this place,” said Doron Spielman, vice president of the nonprofit Elad Foundation, which oversees the archaeological park. He carried a softcover Bible in his hand as he ambled around the excavation.
The site has come under criticism because of the Elad Foundation’s nationalistic agenda. Most of the foundation’s funding comes from private donations from Jews in the U.S. and U.K., and its activities include purchasing Arab homes near the excavated areas and then helping Jews move in, sometimes under heavy guard.
Critics say this political agenda should not mix with archaeology.
The following is a mind boggling quotation if you have never been exposed to this teaching. I include this particular quote because it is given by one of the most respected and learned Christians of all time– Francis Schaeffer. Why is this important to the believer? Because “….as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be in the days of the coming of the Son of Man.” Blessings, Pastor Steve
Christian and ancient Jewish scholarship are in agreement with this quote by Francis Schaeffer. The article following is a synopsis of a book by Douglas Van Dorn: Giants: Sons of the Gods. This is cutting edge teaching and becoming more replete throughout Christianity in recent years:
Daniel Reiman (D), Mayor Of Carteret, New Jersey– They have had a prayer tradition in all their meetings since the city was founded. Immigration called this past Tuesday and said: “You have to remove prayer from the agenda in the moment of silence.” The mayor told them: “It does not make sense, especially in light of the recent supreme court ruling. No, prayer will be part of the program.” Immigration responded that: “It cannot be listed on the agenda. It cannot be part of the program.” The mayor responded: “Take your godless ceremony somewhere else.” …..and they did. Carteret is a very faith based city and God is mentioned in the citizenship oath and the pledge of allegiance. The residents of Carteret were fully in favor of the decision of the mayor. The prayer would have been nondenominational.
Praise God for those who stand up for values that go against the grain. If you are a Christian, especially one who serves in any kind of public arena, you too will experience similar battles. “A dead fish can float downstream, but it takes a live one to fight the current.”