Posts tagged ‘blood’

October 24, 2011

Was It A Tree?

by pastortimfowler

Quite often I will get questions about things that people read in the Bible that catch their eye, or perk their curiosity, and in some cases, even cause doubt. These are always great teaching opportunities and I always welcome these questions. Here is one I received the other day; When speaking of the crucifixion, I have heard songs that mention a tree, and others a cross and even the Bible uses these two terms. Why?
There are a couple of places that come to mind where the Bible uses the term tree for the crucifixion. Deuteronomy 21:22-23 (KJV)
22 And if a man have committed a sin worthy of death, and he be to be put to death, and thou hang him on a tree:
23 His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; (for he that is hanged is accursed of God;) that thy land be not defiled, which the Lord thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.
Galatians 3:13 (KJV)
13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:
In both of these the word tree is translated from the Hebrew word in Deuteronomy, and the Greek word in Galatians, from a word that means timber, wood, or plank. That definition makes it pretty easy to clear up any confusions, seeing how the cross was definitely made of wood. Some modern translations use the word pole in place of tree. I think the confusion comes from what we know as a cross and a pole. Let me try to enlighten you.
There is some debate among biblical scholars about methods of crucifixion because of these words. Some think that people were hung on a single pole, with their hands directly overhead. There are some recorded instances of this method being used, but not so much in the area and time that Jesus was crucified in. But my opinion is that the traditional cross, with two pieces was used.
The crosses were stored unassembled. Just piles of wood or timber. Everyone knew they were there for the making of crosses, but until needed they were just poles or trees. No one in those times had any confusion about what was meant when a tree was mentioned in context with crucifixion. Much like today if I were talking about baseball and the batter put some wood on the ball, we would not think that he had a pine tree in his hand, but rather a baseball bat, even if the bat was aluminum.
Either way the crucifixion was a cruel and humiliating way to put someone to death. It was where our sins were put to death by our Savior Jesus Christ. He hung on the tree so that we didn’t have to. Have took our curse, and gave us forgiveness and eternal life. He was not left on the tree, He was put in a borrowed tomb and rose from the grave three days later. The tree or cross was only a way of displaying to the world that sin had been nailed to cross, left there when Christ’s body was taken away. I know you don’t see the sin when you see the cross, but that is because the blood of Jesus covered the sin of humanity.
And one last thing, the verse in Deuteronomy 21:23, that is listed above, is another reason that I say that believers should be buried and not cremated. It is part of the law and we were never told to stop obeying the law. God ahead, blast back at me if you want too.

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September 6, 2011

Heart Troubles

by pastortimfowler

I went to see a friend today that just had a triple bypass heart operation. He was doing remarkably well for someone who 4 days ago had his chest cracked open. I laughed because I drove about 40 minutes, and only stayed about 2 minutes because he said he was hungry and sleepy, then had to run in the rain back to my truck to drive 40 minutes back. But it was a great use of my time to see an answered prayer face to face.
The human heart is an amazing organ. It pumps blood 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year for on average, almost 80 years. When something goes wrong with it we know it. We get tired, short of breath, and often feel pains like we have never felt before. What my friend had was what is most common for heart problems and that is blocked arteries that supply blood to the thing that pumps the blood. When this happens there are a couple of things that can happen. In the best cases, we can change our diet and exercise, and start taking some medications to help clear things out. A little worse and you get to have a roto rooter job done on the arteries and have stents put in to open them up. This too usually comes with diet and exercise changes and some meds. The last and most severe cases get the ol’ bypass operation. This is where they crack open your chest, clip some spare parts from other locations and install them in the heart to get the blood flowing again. Once this takes place they again tell you to change your diet, exercise and take some meds. With advances in medicine, most people are living 20 or more years after this procedure and regaining their health to a level that was better than before. Incredible!
The human heart is not only the amazing organ that keeps us alive but has also become the symbolic place of our emotions and our conscious. We ‘wear our hearts on our sleeves’ if we show emotions to easily for some and we are quick to say that ‘God knows our hearts’ when talking about our intentions to do good. God is called the Great Physician because He can physically heal our bodies when doctors say there is no hope, but what He does to our heart that we claim controls our inner being is even more amazing.
I have had a bad heart since I was born. The organ is fine, but the inner me is really in need of some help. My condition fluctuates from one degree to the other, but either way, without the help of the Great Physician, I would be dead. When I was about 20 years old I realized that my heart was really bad and God actually gave me a transplant. He put in me a new heart that He had designed to overcome my sin problems. He told me that if I would eat right and exercise that I would have no problems but if I ever decided to go back to my old habits, I would have problems. He restores the blood flow that gives life. That blood is the blood of Jesus. My diet is the word of God and the exercise is my faith of which I need to walk daily with.
There have been times when I ignored the Doctor’s orders and went back to eating the same old junk I use too and I have needed the bypass. It was painful and even embarrassing to think that I messed it up so bad. But I regained my spiritual health and started eating better and exercising and things went good. He restored the blood flow and sin was no longer clogging the way to my heart.
Today, there are still times that I have to allow the doctor to check me out and He usually fusses if I am straying off my diet and exercise. He prescribed a daily dose of His word to me back when I got my transplant and it is usually when I don’t take it like I should that the problems start-up. But every time that I get back on my daily routine that was prescribed, I feel better and my heart feels good.
The doctor really gets great joy when he sees a patient years after an operation and the patient is doing well. I don’t think anything is more disappointing to them than to see a person waste such a wonderful opportunity get their lives back. The doctor can only do so much, we must take responsibility for following His prescription for good health.
Every day now I check in with my Doctor. He is great in that He never gets tired of my calls. He never stops encouraging me to live the lifestyle that He prescribes and promises that no matter how much damage I do, He can fix it if I will let Him. The old part of me still desires the stuff that messes me up, but the more I stick to His plan the better my heart really is.
I hope that you never have to experience a heart bypass, but if you do, be encouraged that it will work and your heart will get better. I hope that everyone will let the Great Physician replace your old heart with a new one and that you to can have a life that is eternal. But don’t ever try to crack your own chest open and do it yourself. You will die. And you know what? You can’t fix your spiritual heart either and that death is forever. See the Doctor and get it done right
Ezekiel 36:26-28
26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you. I will remove your stubborn hearts and give you obedient hearts.
27 I will put my Spirit in you. I will enable you to live by my laws, and you will obey my rules.
28 Then you will live in the land that I gave your ancestors. You will be my people, and I will be your God.

March 5, 2011

Who’s your Daddy?

by pastortimfowler

One of the greatest things that ever happened to me was having children. I was never one that liked kids, except me, I always liked me even when I was a kid. But having children taught me more about God that I ever thought could happen. God is tough to understand sometimes, but I think when we get away from religion and start looking at the relationship God wants with us, it is easier to do.
Romans 8:15 and Galatians 4:6 tells us that because of our standing in Christ we have the right to call God, Abba. That word doesn’t sound much like anything I ever called my dad but its meaning is closer to daddy than any other word we are given in the Bible to call God.
My parents had a perfect child, me. I never caused them one minute of grief. Okay, I am stretching the truth a bit here. I was trouble from the time I could think. I started lying before I could walk. Mom told me that I use to cry just to get her in the room to pick me up. Crying is a baby’s way of letting the parents know something is wrong; wet, scared, hungry, hurting. But I quickly realized this, probably due to my super intelligent brain, and would cry just to get her to pick me up. Later I learned to tell them that I was not doing what they had just caught me doing. Even more I learned that you did not have to do your own homework if some cute girl would do it for you.
It was about then that my dad started loving me less. He told me that because I was older I needed to learn to be perfect and never mess up. The condition of him loving me was that I became perfect. As I reached my teen years I fell into the trap of drugs and alcohol abuse. I started stealing to support my habit and even told people from time to time that I was not related to my dad. By that time he had totally disowned me and said that he did not love me at all and would never love me again unless I completely quit doing things that he did not like. In fact I was removed from the family tree, completely eliminated from the family and its love. My dad was no longer my dad.
I hope that by now there are some of you going, WHAT??? You dad would never stop loving you. He would never disown you. There is no way you can be removed from a family. Nothing can change the fact that your dad is your dad! And you would be right.
My dad never quit loving me. There were times that he told me I was not welcome in his house. There were times when he told me that I was a disgrace to the family. There was never a time that he quit being my dad. That fact was based on my birth and not my actions. You could say it had to do with the blood.
God, Abba, Father, has the same standards for us being His son or daughter. Not based on our actions, but based on the blood, the blood of Jesus. Jesus told us that we must be born again. When we are we become His children and although He expects us to grow and learn, He never expects us to be perfect. We can’t.
God will not allow us to in His house sometimes and will be disappointed in our actions sometimes, but He never stops loving us. He can’t.
Now that I am an adult, I have made things right with my dad. I told him that I realized my mistakes and asked him to forgive me. He did. He told me one time that he knew that he was tough on me and that it broke his heart to not allow me in his presence. He told me how proud he was of my ability to learn from my mistakes and to come back to him for a relationship.
If you have strayed from God and fallen into some things that are not up to the family’s expectations, know this; God still loves you. He waits patiently for your return. His heart breaks each second you are away, but His love never lessens.
Having children reinforces this every day. My children are not perfect, but I love them with all my heart. I hope that they see God’s love through my love like I saw in my dad’s love for me.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (GW)

4 Love is patient. Love is kind. Love isn’t jealous. It doesn’t sing its own praises. It isn’t arrogant.
5 It isn’t rude. It doesn’t think about itself. It isn’t irritable. It doesn’t keep track of wrongs.
6 It isn’t happy when injustice is done, but it is happy with the truth.
7 Love never stops being patient, never stops believing, never stops hoping, never gives up.
8 Love never comes to an end.

March 2, 2011

Thoughts on Leviticus

by pastortimfowler

Sacrifice

In my journey to read through the Bible again this year I have been reading through the Old Testament book of Leviticus. This is where Arron and his sons become the official priests of Israel and what it takes to achieve a holy standing before God.
First of all I am really glad that I am a Christian when I read about the stuff that had to happen. The amount of detail and effort that it took is mind numbing. What makes it more difficult is that this status of being holy was only temporary and the sacrifices had to be repeated over and over.
When God gave the instructions to build the tabernacle He told the people to give gold, silver, bronze, jewels, and most of the precious stuff that they had. They did it and as far as I can tell they did not do a lot of whining about it. Christians are only asked to give 10% to maintain the church, and none of it in jewelery.

But back to Leviticus. The priests had to sacrifice a bull to make the tabernacle holy. Then they had to sacrifice a bull to make the clothes holy. Then they had to sacrifice to make themselves holy before they could sacrifice to make the person offering the sacrifice holy. And that was just the sin offering.
There were guilt offerings, grain offerings, fellowship offering, praise offerings and an ordination offering. The priests had to put blood from the bull, goat, lamb, or dove on about everything, including their big toe!
I know it was an extreme honor to be one of those priests. I know that they got to experience the presence of God every time they offered a sacrifice. I know that the clothes must have been really awesome to wear because they set you apart from everyone else. But it they messed up at any level, it was all for nothing. If they forgot to confess ALL their sins before entering the Holiest part of the tabernacle, they would die.
So being a Christian is pretty cool. Our holiness does not depend on a bull, goat, or dove. It does not depend on someone wearing the right clothes or having the right set of rituals. It depends on what Jesus did and that alone. He shed His blood, forgave my sin, and that was good enough to never have to be repeated.
Sure I have my part to do in all this. But it won’t cost me my life if I mess up. I am the son of the King! The Chief High Priest and Judge of all has found me forgiven of all charges and set free!
My part is simple. Ask for forgiveness when I sin. Love others freely like God loves me. Give like I trust God to give to me and to help others like God helps me. Have a relationship with my Savior and forget the whole religious thing. No stinkin’ animal blood on me.
Wait a minute…it does mean the blood of Jesus covers me. Like the old hymn says; What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.